Building without raising funds: the example of Compta Clementine

At the start of 2021, Lemlist is all the rage. The reason ? Guillaume Moubeche, CEO of the start-up that specializes in commercial prospecting, shouted loudly and clearly that he refused a 30 million dollar fundraiser, because we were “ too often there is a tendency to associate success with the amount raised, he explains to BFM Business. I think, it is good to combine other criteria, especially profitability, the happiness of its employees … “. Applauded or condemned, this marketing stunt in any case caused a lot of talk at French Tech. And a few months later, the young company finally made a $ 30 million rounding of funding with British fund Expedition Growth. Capital, to take 20% of the capital of the young shoot …

Other companies, which have been less publicized, have made and continue to make this choice to do so without fundraising as much as possible to develop. This is the case of Compta Clémentine, a Lorraine scaleup created in 2012 by William Boiché and his father Jean-Louis Boiché, which offers a 100% online accounting firm to allow entrepreneurs and SMEs to outsource their administrative costs. .

Earn for two years

Funds have always been courting us and, since 2014, we’ve been talking to some of them, said William Boiche. In 7 years, gradually, investors will always offer us more money for the same percentage of capital, so if we make a series A now, it will be bigger than a few years ago. past, proving that our calculation has not been. wrong until now “.

If the company’s launch in 2012 was laborious, with 70,000 euros in their equity pocket and faced with banks unwilling to lend them money, the two co-founders achieved profitability within two years, thanks to their first 100 customers. ” Since then, we have accelerated the development of our technological product, investing all of the company’s profits in it. added the CEO of Compta Clémentine. This approach has borne fruit: since then, the scaleup, which is playing the game of transparency, claims to record a growth rate of more than 50% per year, and a turnover of 12 million euros in 2021, thanks to 10,000 business customers, workers. , VSEs-SMEs, traders and liberal professions.

According to the entrepreneur, this success is also due to the hybrid nature of the service offered by Compta Clémentine, which covers SaaS solution for cheap subscriptions, and human support, for companies that want to also benefit from communication. relationship with a dedicated accountant.

Compta Clémentine’s other major investment is recruitment. The proof of this is that since it was created, the company has moved three times due to lack of space. Today, the scaleup has invested in a building of nearly 5,000 square meters in Lorraine. Not to mention the opening of an office in Paris, “ because that’s where most tech profiles are “explains its leader, and another in Marseille,” because many of our collaborators want to leave to live in this city “. Added to this was a small symbolic office in Épinal, where the businessman studied.

Recruitment of 300 people

Comprised of 220 employees now, the startup still intends to accept new faces. We launched a massive recruitment plan over the next 18 months to hire 300 people “says William Boiche. If startups tend to raise funds to support their ambitions in terms of recruitment, again, Compta Clémentine is calm enough to cope without it.” Our banks trust us, which still allows us to invest millions without opening our capitalhe replied. We can support this recruitment plan and triple the size of the debt, and by staying in control of our strategy “.

William Boiché admitted, if his company was entirely based in Paris, he might have been forced to raise funds. ” You might think that being in the regions is a disadvantage, but on the contrary it’s a real strength in a business model when you’re not raising funds, he argued. Real estate in Nancy is ten times cheaper than in Paris, and everything is more affordable, which also suggests that employees have lower salary expectations. “.

Octave Klaba as an example

If many French Tech entrepreneurs aim to build too fast to get stuck as soon as possible, Willam Boiché is not in this view. ” I’m not in a sprint, but in a marathon. I want to build a great business and hold the helm as much as possible, I see long -term prospects », Pictured the founder of Compta Clémentine, who hopes that his strategy will allow one day to become a unicorn, a company worth more than a billion euros.

For William Boiché, the model to follow is that of Octave Klaba, founder of OVH. ” Far from seeing this entrepreneur, he didn’t want to raise funds for 15 years and did so when he really needed to open up new markets, which would soon make OVH an undisputed leader on the European continent. . This is the trajectory I aim for in my niche sector », Explanation of the head of the online accounting firm.

Because, in fact, if he doesn’t exclude fundraising someday, he insists he’ll only do it if he sees it. dangerous competitors are coming into my market, which is not happening now », Or when he considers an internationalization of his solution. ” We want to gradually expand to other countries, perhaps by acquiring foreign competitors, to better adapt to the culture of the target markets.end of William Boiche. At this point the fundraising of a few tens of millions of euros will be able to intervene to quickly gain market share abroad and make our company European. “.

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