About 8 years ago, Rachel Delacour and her husband, Nicolas Raspal, decided to take the risk and embark on a crazy and rewarding journey to start their own business. Together, they founded BIME Analytics. I recently sat down with Rachel about her entrepreneurship journey and asked her about lessons she learnt while raising funds, building a team, and getting acquired by Zendesk.
“It’s a marathon. You build great things through time”: Rachel emphasized that the journey isn’t easy at all, there are so many sacrifices, changes and obstacles to face, but at the end of the day, it is very rewarding when you are building something that you are very passionate about it, for yourself, for your team, for your customers.
“It’s your role, prepare yourself for it”: Rachel mentions that as a founder and CEO, your role is to network, open new doors for your team, build good business relationships and make sure that you create a solid talent that can help you develop and grow your company. Don’t expect anyone else doing this for you.
“Raising money is a terrible defocus from your company”: Raising money can be very time consuming, there are so many things to prepare for each presentation that you give to a potential investor, the time that you are spending on these presentation is time that you are not spending at your company. Rachel suggests that it is important to make sure that your team is aware of the things that you are doing and these efforts, being transparent with your team will encourage them to move forward and look at the future. Also, every company needs to have a clear deadline and goals for each funding round, so they don’t overspend their energy and time if it’s not the right moment.
“Always look for funding, don’t disrupt your growth”: She thinks that you should take advantage of any opportunity that opens to raise money even if you don't desperately need it because you can be in a good position to negotiate a better deal.
Raise as much as you can: “Yes, you should think bigger when you ask for money” Rachel feels that statistically, it’s proven that women, don’t ask as much as men do, this is especially evident when it comes to seek funding. Sometimes businesses underestimate some of the unplanned things that could happen while developing a product or don’t forecast correctly an incredible growth, since a fundraising takes time to prepare and execute. It is good to shoot for a bigger figure, so you have enough cash for anything unexpected.
“No VC vs Operational guys, there is one TEAM”: Rachel means that you should choose your VCs as wisely as you choose the talents to grow your company, you want them to be a partner on the journey to develop your business and make sure that everyone is part of the boat. You must know that you can pick up the phone for good and bad calls and still have a constructive discussion.
A good deal is a simple deal. Rachel believes that companies should question a deal when the terms are hard to understand about what they are getting from their funding and when there are so many terms. “A good deal is when everyone understand clearly what will happen, when and what it implies for the company and its leaders. A good deal is when everyone is satisfied.”.
“Cards replayed after each round”: Every time a business raises money, they need to refocus their business so they can implement changes and move forward. . Businesses need to start making investments, recruiting and make changes internally and externally. “As a leader, management isn’t the same when you have 50 or 150 employees, things like: adding new talents, new organization structure, open a new offices - sometimes overseas. It is the founders’ responsibility work”
I guess we could all agree that starting a company isn’t easy by any means, specially if you are a women. However, a lot of things have changed over the past years: there are more opportunities for entrepreneurs and more companies willing to help those who are starting to pursue their dream. At Zendesk, we support entrepreneurs and have recently partnered with Station F in Paris, where we will have our own incubator with 47 desks that other startups can use to work for free. Rachel Delacour is currently leading all our efforts in order to help the startup ecosystem growth in Europe. If you want to learn more about our startup program, you can visit our website to apply or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking to drive your business forward with data, you can start trying BIME Analytics for free.