The story of Parrot company by Henri Seydoux, Founder & CEO
In this blog post, we would like to come back to a specific talk made by someone who built a company from scratch in 1994 and today they are 1000 people with 300M$ revenue (extracted from slide 4). This is always of interest to understand the trajectory of a company from the beginning. Simply click on the image to play the webcast:
Some of the highlights before Henri Seydoux talks about the drone (slide 33):
- 1st idea of the company was bad: to make a voice organizer (slide 6 and 7)
- 2nd idea: they applied speech recognition to the car industry (slide 9, 10), this was a good idea but a very bad timing
- Bluetooth product launch on Sept 9, 2011
- Everybody was saying it will not work when they had the idea to sell Bluetooth products to the car industry (slide 17) while it was a big success (slide 18, 19)
- At some point, the company was profitable, the VC suggested to sell the company and the founder said no, “I am not an engineer, I am just an entrepreneur, it will be very difficult for me to recreate such a company if it is sold” so the idea was to create new start-ups in Parrot (slide 21), the idea was to follow the boom of the cellular phones. In the same way Logitech developed while doing prepherical devices for the PC, Parrot wanted to do products around the cell phones.
- Idea of the phone replacing the mp3 player (slide 22) but it was a mistake: mp3 player replaced the phone (Apple)
- Parrot was a pioneer and one of the best innovators in the sound systems (slide 23): Good idea, good market, good technology but bad business (slide 25). Why bad business: too expensive and technological product.
Main messages in the form of tips to all:
- You have to follow your ideas. You have to do it seriously (slide 51)
- It is not as difficult as you believe: you will find people to help you, you are not alone, including VC — there is plenty of money, go to the money, meet the people (slide 52, 53), you will find a lot of help from your customers, build a team
- Do not loose time with un-important questions. There is only 2 things to do as an entrepreneur: 1) make a product 2) sell it. All the rest (financing, HR, marketing) is easy. The doors of the customers are always closed.
- Once you have money from VCs, be cautious with money (slide 55), Don’t spend your money (slide 56), Don’t listen the VCs that you have to go faster, to spend money. What you do? You Invest it (slide 57). You have to know exactly what to do exactly with the money.
More business / start-up conference webcast can be found here: and http://startup.klewel.com/ (mainly in French). Great introduction by Hervé Lebret. More info on Swiss start-up eco-system: VentureLab, contact Jordi and his team.