SaaStock Local Talks #7: interview with Marc Prempain [ViiBE]6 min read
SaaStock Local Talks are interviews we at Brainy Bees carry out with people who live and breathe SaaS.
Over these virtual coffees, we’ll discuss everything SaaS related.
The seventh interview features Marc Prempain, CEO of ViiBE.
You are Marc Prempain and you are…
the co-founder and CEO at ViiBE.
How did your journey in ViiBe begin? How did you get to where you are today?
First off, I’ve always wanted to be a world citizen.
I finished my studies in exchange Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
then, I’m adventurous, like to make moves, take risks and enterprise. In such a bustling city as Ho Chi Minh, I got myself involved in the startup environment: VCs meetings, workshops, Tech conferences and so on. Everything started from there.
What is ViiBE? What makes it stand out from the crowd?
ViiBE is the web technology of remote video assistance, ticketing, and knowledge management designed for technical and customer support services.
It promises the best remote diagnosis thanks to a live video stream combined with AR and collaborative tools.
ViiBE offers to its users a frictionless, one-click, no-download accessibility. ViiBE is integrated into all major CRMs such Zendesk, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics as well as Asset Management Software such as IBM Maximo and Field service management softwares like Praxedo.
ViiBE can seamlessly interoperate with any of its customers’ IT ecosystems.
Another important differentiating point is how ViiBE can improve its customers’ CSR strategies by limiting their impact on the environment. By reducing the number of expert trips on-site, ViiBE users eliminate excess CO2 and can easily measure their total reduction of carbon emissions.
What are ViiBE plans for 2021?
To scale within our existing customers through connections with their Active Directory and to make our last step forward to a full self service deployment process. Can’t wait to see that go live, stay tuned!
Go bootstrapping or go to investors?
It was neuralgic for us to raise funds as we decided to address multinationals from the beginning, which require time and resources because of the long sales cycles.
We already raised more than 2M in the seed stage, so I go for the investors.
I might change my mind for my second company, we’ll see 🙂
How has the pandemic affected your growth? Did you have to cope with churn, or did you deal with more clients?
In one sentence: we gained 3 years of evangelization in 2 months.
We are present in several sectors, including energy, retail, or transportation … Among the latter, we have seen a sharp increase in use cases for remote inspections and leadership visits, which used to be in-person, but due to travel restrictions and limited access because of covid, these tasks must be done remotely.
On the other hand, we have seen our usage in the aviation sector going down drastically.
We thus observed two behaviors at opposite ends of the spectrum depending on the sector of activity.
In general, companies have been forced to transform the way they operate because travel and on-site work are now extremely limited. In addition, companies have had to pay more attention to HSE regulations in order to protect their employees, partners and customers from the Covid virus. As a result, they have been looking more than ever for digital solutions that allow them to collaborate without disrupting their workflows. ViiBE was able to meet this need and improve remote collaboration, operational efficiency as well as knowledge management.
Our solution was perfectly positioned to help companies not only navigate, but thrive during this transition to remote collaboration. Our customers found that it was entirely possible to perform many of their normal activities remotely and then keep track of the data with ViiBE’s ticketing and archiving system.
Overall it has been positive as the need intensified more than it decreased through the variety of sectors we address.
When you’re not feeling motivated, how do you motivate yourself?
Running, cycling and playing basketball have been my fuel and my outlet since the very beginning. It helps me keep the main thing the main thing.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of our company right now?
We’ve learnt how to recruit the tough way.
I would say our strengths within the team, in terms of soft skills and culture, are our cosmopolitan touch, open mindness, entrepreneurship mindset distilled through everyone.
What is something you wish someone had told you during your career journey?
I wish I had:
– Built a strong content and marketing machine before hiring sales
– Established a clean and controlled lead to cash funnel before hiring sales
– Put in place a data visualisation platform earlier
What is the best and the worst part of being a CEO?
Developing a solution that is useful to society, notably in terms of environmental impact as well as witnessing its usage expand globally. Also, making the team grow and seeing team members getting as involved as we are as founders gave me an extra boost to keep on thriving.
The worst part would be the level of constant uncertainty and the stress that comes with.
What is your greatest professional challenge? How did you overcome it and what have you learned from it?
My first company is my first job. So I would pick challenges encountered at ViiBE by default: our seed fundraising, the milestone of reaching 10 employees 2 years ago, and to be deployed and used worldwide.
I have definitely learnt the best practices of raising funds, recruit A-players and scaling at a multinationals but that would require an interview on its own right there.
What would others call your communication style? Are you close to your employees or do you prefer to maintain a healthy distance, and why?
Accessible. I like to be close to my teams, feel people’s trust and encourage transparency. We proceed in an agile and flat hierarchy process.
If you had to give one business lesson to people who think about launching their SaaS, what would it be?
To bounce on what I have said in regard to what I would have appreciated knowing before launching ViiBE, to focus on one core feature, once it is live and validated, try to track its usage data as precisely as you can. Don’t expand the product before securing and locking a core feature from end to end: Usage – data tracking – invoicing.
Once it is well tracked, integrate it everywhere within existing systems from your targeted market, make it seamless to interoperate anywhere. Then, I’d advise to start developing content and a SEO machine as soon as the business is being crystallized.
Finally, I would also suggest to recruit only people who are better than you at what they do in your top 10 employees.
What other CEOs do you look up to? (and I should interview)
All the CEOs of our competitors
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