“I was there”
A small step for mankind but a BIG step for ‘SSUP. That’s it, finally we make it. A week after starting our tour we walk through the doors of the startup mecca for France, Europe and the world: StationF. While queuing to enter, we already perceive this energy, young faces surround us: who will be the next Bill, Mark or Jeff? Inside, there is something in the air… yes, dust, as workers toil to finish construction before the next unicorn emerges from a meeting room full of poufs. Beyond, there is also an atmosphere, a mystic spirit, the feeling to belong to an adventure that’ll allow you to say in 10 years “I was there”.
I know it sounds weird, but you could really feel a lot of excitement and passion among the people we saw that day. I’m ready to bet that the next 3 years will see a unicorn appear at Station F.
From Knowing Nothing to Exiting
And that unicorn may well be FLUO, and certainly Jehan De Castet won’t tell you otherwise. When applying to INSEAD, Jehan already knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur; that’s what he wrote in his application and that’s exactly what he did. Graduated in 2005 from the MBA, Jehan spotted an opportunity in the insurance industry, where lack of transparency was the norm at consumers’ expenses.
He wasn’t an expert, not even familiar with insurance: “I knew nothing”, but just like John Snow he learnt fast and found an investor that introduced him to a CTO. Together, in 1 year they created Courtanet, a comparator that later became the famous LesFurets.com that every French individual knows for its famous TV ad. After 8 years in the business he took the opportunity to sell Les Furets to a UK company and thus closed the cycle from creation to exit entirely.
After some time off, the appeal for entrepreneurship was too strong and he dived again into the uncertain world of business creation with Fluo. Building on the expertise in insurance he developed in his first experience, he went one step further and offered customers a real insurance managing app. Fluo scans all your contract, automatically detecting duplications and holes in your coverage, allowing you to be better covered at a reduced cost. Fluo is now in its 4th year, gathering a team of 18 talented people based at Station F with the ambition to conquer Europe through UK, Spain, Germany, and Italy.
His recipe for success? Not surprisingly, team, team, and team. Jehan insists on having everybody pulling in the same direction and the importance for the manager to make the entire team contribute to success: “You can’t be successful if not everyone in your team is successful”. Having a good team starts with recruiting and as a start-up with limited money, time and energy you cannot afford bad hiring: “Even with only one orange light, don’t do it”
To end the meeting, Jehan tells us how 10 years ago people in France looked at him strangely when he used the word “innovation”. Now that the barriers to entry are lower, access to labour and capital are easier, don’t postpone your entrepreneurial ambition. Go for it !
Thanks Jehan for your time and energy, we wish @Fluo the best in StationF!