It is undoubtedly the best known of the French “unicorns”. In 2016, OVH Group achieved this status assigning unlisted start-ups worth more than one billion euros. Founded in 1999 by Octave Klaba, a young man of Polish descent, the company was first focused on hosting websites, which still make up a quarter of its activity. But it is now in the strong growth of the market of “cloud computing”, that is to say the management for third-party companies of computer servers accessible remotely, that the efforts of OVH, if it is a “private” cloud (servers dedicated to a customer) or “public” (shared servers).
At Believe and Aramis Group, OVH is one of the “French Tech” stars that will enter the stock market in 2021. And this is the one where the first public offer has been the most successful. This is not a foregone conclusion. Last year was marred by hiccups for OVH: a fire in March at a data center in Strasbourg, then a service failure in October, two days before the IPO. “Two factors contributed to the success of the operation, believes Jacques-Aurélien Marcireau, co-head of equity management at Edmond de Rothschild AM. First of all, the company was introduced at a reasonable cost, unlike some operations in the United States., which leaves room for price appreciation. The second reason is strong demand from individuals, which suck up nearly 17% of total investment. ” An unusually high proportion.
Institutions also responded. “We subscribed to the introduction because of the very strong growth market but mainly industry knowledge, based on solutions that are often developed in-house, allowing offers that are cheaper than the competition, suggests by Vincent Maulay, financial analyst at BDL Capital Management. And we value the quality of management and the complementarity between the founder and its managing director, Michel Paulin, formerly of Neuf Cegetel and SFR. ” Of course, past incidents have no consequences. “They slowed growth last year, Vincent Maulay explained. OVH had to provide discounts to its customers and the fact of focusing on retaining current customers limited its ability to win over others.” Good news: the numbers for the first quarter of the 2022 financial year are pretty convincing. “The company has conservative goals and can offer nice surprises, Jacques-Aurélien Marcireau believes. The acceleration of growth needs to be confirmed in the coming years.”
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“Becoming a Switzerland of the cloud”
But can the Asterix cloud compete with the titans of the sector? Although its rivals in Europe are few, Amazon, Google and Microsoft are steamrollers, with higher growth rates in the cloud (approximately 40% in the last quarter of 2021) and not measurable in size. In the last quarter of 2021, Amazon’s cloud division (AWS) represented $ 17.8 billion in revenue, or 83 times higher than OVH. “As the market grows, more and more companies will choose one of the major suppliers and another, more local and cheaper, the Vincent Maulay. Complex.”
In some sectors, such as video games, some customers may also be embarrassed to entrust strategic data to competing groups as well. Focused on the single cloud business, OVH can ensure this and it has another advantage. “The challenge for OVH is to promote its status as a French player with European public and private players, thanks to the high standards of data protection in Europe,” Jacques-Aurélien Marcireau thinks. To be a Switzerland of the cloud, in other words.A guarantee of neutrality as opposed to American gamers, subject to the Cloud Act, a law that provides unlimited fair access to computer data, without even having to inform them with Here’s who can shine the sun over OVH’s head.
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Chronicle by Pierre Assouline
The narrative of Nicolas Bouzou
Review by Anne Rosencher