Last week, we met Pierre-Emmanuel from HelloZack. He agreed to share his vision of a successful entrepreneurship project with the Community. Hope you’ll enjoy the read!
Hello Pierre-Emmanuel! Can you tell us about yourself and HelloZack?
I am Pierre Emmanuel Saint-Esprit, CEO and co-founder of HelloZack. Everything began during a master degree at UC Berkeley. With the other co-founders, we realized that it was easier to buy than to sell on internet.
For example, on Amazon, you can buy everything in 1 click. Zack offers an hassle-free solution to sell your Apple products. We buy back to consumers and companies: Cash, Anywhere, Anytime.
“The first thing we did was to test our idea in the streets of San Francisco.”
The first thing we did was to test this idea in the streets of San Francisco. More than seeking to have a great time, we were sure that the idea would meet a demand. For 4 months, we continued developing this project, helped by Mark Coopersmith, a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Haas Business School in UC Berkeley who shared the essence of his experience with us.
With his useful advices and our great idea in our bags, we came back to Paris and continued developing the project at “Numa”, a Parisian incubator. At the beginning, we were generalist rebuyers, but with time we realized that we needed more expertize.
In fact, we chose to focus our business on Apple devices. Since this decision, HelloZack has significantly grown. As a consequence, we are almost profitable, which is exceptional for a start up with only 1 year life. This result was based on the scalability and the expansion of our business. Now our next goal is to develop a B2B offer and conquer European Capitals.
So what is your approach to grow internationally?
As I said, we expect to expand our business to other cities in Europe such as London, Brussels or Berlin. One of the key advantages of our business is that it is easily scalable. We only need to have dispatch riders and a logistic team per country. This is why we definitely target to grow internationally. To achieve this ambitious goal, we forecast to use our network all around Europe. Indeed, we have some French working all over Europe. I think that this is the easiest way for us to find new customers.
Nevertheless, before starting this ambitious development, we target to conquer the French B2B market.
What are the challenges you are facing right now on the French B2B Market?
Logistics is the key. Because we are a young startup (we celebrated our 1st anniversary on May) we need to develop the logistics. We are working on optimizing some tasks to reinforce them but this is a long-term job.
What piece of advice would you give a Beeleever wanting to expand his business?
- #1 Team
“Without a good team your idea has no value.”
During my studies, I learned that Airbnb took 5 months to hire their first employee. At Hellozack we took less time but the idea was the same. It is hard to be a good recruiter so take your time. Moreover, if you made a mistake don’t hesitate to take a step back even if it’s hard.
- #2 Network
What you need to succeed in France is a good network. With it, you can find investors, partners but also customers. However, if you have no network in France, you can easily develop one. The Parisian entrepreneurial ecosystem is still small, with good referals, you can become a part of it.
I know this advice seems obvious but, start by looking on Beeleev! There are many great French entrepreneurs on this platform.
- #3 listen to your customers
“ “Client is king”, we all know this sentence but this is true. In a B2C business, your clients are those who can kill your start up. “
So, listen to them and maybe you will have nice comments on Google or twitter. This is exactly what your business need to grow up.
What do you wish you knew before you started?
Recruiting is much harder than we could ever imagine. You cannot realize how much time I spend on dealing with a bad recruitment. It took me a lot of time and money. Taking risks is part of entrepreneur philosophy but it does not mean that you should not take the time of decision. As I said before, Airbnb took 5 months to recruit their first employee. We all know how successful this “little” startup became. So why don’t we copy the best?
Thank you very much Pierre-Emmanuel!