The French Golden Boy of the web?
As an Internet entrepreneur and investor, Fabrice has successfully operated and invested in businesses in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. In March 2006, Fabrice co-founded OLX, Inc. with business partner Alec Oxenford, in the hopes of building the largest free local classified site in the world. Until December 2012, as co-CEO, Fabrice drove the company’s business development, investor relations, M&A and product development efforts. OLX now has over 300 employees and is present in over 90 countries and 50 languages with over 150 million unique visitors per month.
Fabrice is also a prolific angel investor with over 100 active investments in various companies including Viajanet, Peopleperhour, Brightroll, and many others.
Prior to OLX, Fabrice was the founder and CEO of Zingy Inc., which he built into one of the largest wireless media companies in the Americas while successfully closing deals with some of the top wireless providers in the world. Within four years, Fabrice successfully grew the business to $200 million in content sales before selling the business in 2004 for $80 million.
In 1998, Fabrice co-founded and was CEO of Aucland S.A., one of the top three auction sites in Europe.
Before that Fabrice worked as a business consultant for McKinsey & Company.
Fabrice graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1996 and was awarded the Halbert White prize, given to the most distinguished economics student, as well as The Wolfe Balleisen memorial prize, awarded for best thesis.
It is a privilege to welcome Fabrice on Frenchy !
Fabrice, 39, investor in 120 companies, a personal fortune in a 8 digits figure…
At first glance, Fabrice seems to be a sort of golden boy of the Web…
It seems he used to be one, but he is now delivering a very different sort of message going back to the essential…
Being able to access and execute things that fast, at 39 years old, Fabrice seems to be able to deliver the true meaning of Life as a successful entrepreneur…
So we are listening to him !
Being happy is doing what you love to do !
As an entrepreneur launching a business means working very, very hard…
During the first 2 years of Aucland, in 2000, Fabrice was working more than 18 hours a day, traveling a lot, had even set up few mattresses in the office…
But that was his choice and he loved that !
Why beeing obsessed by owning things?
Since he get ride off his luxury house last year, Fabrice is now only staying at hotels or at friends, traveling with just the necessary clothes and letting all the rest of his stuff down.
In New-York, Fabrice had always commuted using Metro only…
I am conscius how demagogical this can be perceived but I see here a powerful message of someone who had been extremely lucky to get the true meaning of life much faster than everyone else thanks to his extraordinary itinerary !
To me, it is as if Fabrice was telling us :
Bear with me guys, you don’t need all this stuff… I used to play with it myself and I know now I can make a better usage of my life…Without following the requirements of the society but focusing on my true passions !
And, this, is just a choice we can all make…
The top priority remains the relationships with the people you love !
And when it comes to determine what is the most important, after having experimented all as you can imagine, Fabrice comes back to very basic things :
Doing what you love doing with the people you love…
We can all go down that road, no?
Our future will be great…
From his background as an Economist, Fabrice has always been particularly good to appreciate the global picture reminding us that :
Seing global and being opptimistic are the real power !
At the moment, it seems we are living in a deep downturn / crisis period…
Nevertheless, we should not forget that all is always about PERCEPTION…
In order to get that right and link this with the actual economical situation, there is nothing better than watching the pitch Fabrice gave at the last edition of LeWeb’13 in Paris :
In which Fabrice reminds us :
We are living in a wonderful period of time and it is going to be BETTER AND BETTER…
So when Fabrice Grinda is going through a Frenchy questionnaire for #LFTConf, we thank him a thousand times and it looks like this !
Frenchy : Your favorite word ?
Fabrice : Jouer
Frenchy : What would you change if you had a magic wand ?
Fabrice : Mortality
Frenchy : What is your favorite quote ?
Fabrice : Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Attributed to Goethe
Frenchy : What could seduce you immediately ?
Fabrice : Intelligence
Frenchy : What is, according to you, the secret of happiness ?
Fabrice : Building things that will contribute to the good of humanity.
Frenchy : If you were a dessert ?
Fabrice : Pomegranate
Frenchy : What in your day to day life remains so French/American ?
Fabrice : I remain French in my social and personal life,
However the way I conduct business is American.
Frenchy : What do you enjoy the most in the US/Fr way of life ?
US: work ethic
Fr: joie de vivre
Frenchy : One thing where American/French people are particularly good at that you would like to develop yourself ?
Fabrice : French people are particularity good at putting their friends and family first. Lately, I’ve been trying to spend more time with my family and friends. In fact, last year and the year before I managed to bring together for the winter holidays over twenty of my closet friends and family in Anguilla and then in the Dominican Republic.
Frenchy : In the US, failing is seen as the first step to be successful later, how to bring such a state of mind in France ?
Fabrice : By reminding them that highly successful people failed several times before they changed the world.
For instance, Henry Ford’s first automobile businesses went bankrupt and his reputation was compromised. However, this didn’t stop him from building Ford Motor Company and revolutionizing the automobile industry. Strong people are motivated by their own failures.
Frenchy : What is it to be a French/American guy in the US/Fr? Could you tell us a specific anecdote that happened to you ?
Fabrice : Girls are surprised that I actually worked really hard to get rid of my French accent 🙂
Frenchy : A French / European GAFA could be possible if…?
Fabrice : …The government will allow it. Currently, government intervention (the anti-Amazon law, the 15 min Uber law etc.) and high taxes send many talented French entrepreneurs abroad.
Frenchy : According to you, what is the French touch ?
Fabrice : In the short run it is a fantastic opportunity for French entrepreneurs to connect and help each other in bringing their ideas to life. In the long run, it is a chance for us to create awareness on the growing tech sector outside of France. Perhaps this awareness will change our government’s ambivalence about our sector.
Merci Fabrice !
More About Fabrice :
– Speech at LeWeb’13 Paris
– Speech at TEDxParis 2010
– Business Code NY Documentary
About OLX :
OLX (short for online exchange) operates local online classifieds marketplaces accessible through the internet and through native apps on mobile phones. OLX operates in 40+ local countries.
Fabrice is on Twitter.