Jérôme Lecat is a serial entrepreneur and business angel with 20 years of internet start-up experience. In 2009 he founded Scality, a leader in Software-Defined Storage with Giorgio Regni.
From 2003 to 2010, Jérôme led Bizanga, the leading email MTA software infrastructure for service providers, which he founded with Olivier Lemarié, Marc Sheldon and Giorgio Regni. Bizanga achieved major market penetration worldwide with customers such as Comcast, Cox Communications, Telefonica and United Internet (1&1). Bizanga was successfully sold to Cloudmark in February 2010.
Here on Frenchy for us Jérôme is :
The Mr President Whisperer…
In 2001, Jérôme became Chairman of the Board of Data Center Technology (DCT), a Belgium-based start-up which developed a unique Content Addressable Storage (CAS) technology, especially for the backup market. After signing over 70 customers, DCT was sold to Veritas in 2005 with significant profit for its investors.
In 1994, together with Olivier Dauchot and Olivier Lemarié, Jérôme founded Internet-Way, the fourth ISP for enterprises to open in France. As CEO, he built the company from a garage start-up to the second largest ISP in France. In 1997, after the company had reached profitability, he sold the company to UUNET, where he served as vice president of products for EMEA. Jérôme has also been active as a business angel and Board member in several leading technology companies, including Vision Objects, the world leader in handwriting recognition, which was sold to DoubleDay in 2009.
Jérôme holds an engineering degree from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, and a research master’s degree in Cognitive Science from Université Paris VII. Jérôme also completed the AMD program at INSEAD. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Anna, herself an entrepreneur, and sons Nathan and Alexandre.
In 2010, Jérôme and Anna also founded a non-profit organization, the Sugar Foundation, devoted to supporting children and teenagers become passionate and balanced adults.
On this picture, Jérôme looks a little bit like a 007 Agent, but as a Frenchy going to the US to address the petabyte scale storage industry is rather something for a true WARRIOR…
Jérôme is one of those Frenchy entrepreneurs who set with wife and family up in the Silicon Valley and there are not that many !
.So I think he is among Those who really know what they are talking about when it comes to compare the systems and ecosystems…Those we are worth listening to very carefully and Those who can all help us to grow as a nation and as A START-UP REPUBLIQUE!
Here, on Frenchy, because we are just between us, we could even give Jérôme a specific title :
The Mr President Whisperer…
Jérôme was in fact accompagning Hollande President during his trip to the Valley in February 2014 and since he even wrote him a letter stressing on two priorities :
.A better image for a better attractivity !
When foreign people and especially foreign investors are thinking and talking about France, a lot of « clichés » and pre-thought conceptions are coming… Some are true, nice and fun even but some are false and bad for our nation and we have to tackle them !
Reminding that :
Entrepreneur is a French word…
We have got great entrepreneurs in France…
Our engineers and R&D are of a very high worldwide stantard…
French people are very creative and have this little incomparable « plus » which is The French Touch !
There could not be a better place than NYC to do this…
Working on this image issue, is precisely the idea of The French Touch Conference and the « La French Tech » label initiative !
GO, GO, GO #LFTConf !
A start-up redundancy plan exception ?
This is a very sensitive and tricky one…
The idea is that a Start-up is an unsual animal which is always re-ajusting itself in real time and without that extreme adaptability can die straight away…
In France, the Social/Work legislation being highly protective for the job holder, a redundancy plan can just kill a Start-up…
We appreciate this question is not easy for the legislator but the entrepreneurs are in their role when they are trying to explain that to be able to create jobs and more jobs, they need to be able to cut some, sometimes… AND ON A MORE FLEXIBLE WAY… especially as far as the Start-up are concerned…
Jérôme says it well :
I have created much more jobs than I have destroyed in my life as an entrepreneur but I had already to go through 3 redundancy plans…
I had to see about 80 US VCs to find one accepting to get in given I decided to remain my R&D in France…they are afraid of this lack of flexibility because it can kill a promising & growing start-up…
In addition to this message to Hollande President, Jérôme has another one for all the ecosystem and more specifically to the investors in Europe :
Let’s take more risk…Put more Cash on the table…
We are facing a serious funds shortage in Europe !
So When Jérôme Lecat is going through the #LFTConf questionnaire for Frenchy, we thank him a thousand times and it looks like this…
Frenchy : Your favorite word ?
Jérôme : Audacious
Frenchy : What would you change if you had a magic wand ?
Every child getting the kind of attention and security they need from their parent, getting enough food and care to grow healthy, an education which allows them to think by themselves with a sense that everything is possible, and Internet access… this will bring a generation who will make a better world…
Frenchy : What is your favorite quote ?
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do…
Frenchy : What could seduce you immediately ?
Jérôme : A Tesla !
Frenchy : What is, according to you, the secret of happiness ?
Jérôme : Dream, and work to reach your dream.
Frenchy : If you were a dessert ?
Jérôme : Profiteroles au chocolat
Frenchy : What in your day to day life remains so French/American ?
Jérôme : A chocolate croissant every morning.
Frenchy : What do you enjoy the most in the US/Fr way of life ?
US – The view of the Golden Gate and the San Francisco every day when I drive to work.
FR – the smell in Paris in May, and how people are dressed.
Frenchy : One thing where American/French people are particularly good at that you would like to develop yourself ?
American are very crisp when they talk about something, they don’t necessarily describe every nuance, but their elevator pitch is a true elevator pitch!
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 ?
I do not see such a big difference on this topic between France and Silicon Valley. The difference exists, when you compare the French and US education systems. But once in business, I do not see this as a big divide.
Frenchy : Who are the 3 entrepreneurs who most inspire you ?
Frenchy : The 3 most promising French/US start-ups, top of your head ?
More About Jérôme :
– Interview SNW 2011 – theCUBE
– Interview Le Figaro TV
– Interview iTPro.fr
About Scality :
Scality is an industry leader in petabyte-scale storage. The company was founded in 2009 to develop a paradigm shift in storage with a software only solution that could easily handle exponential data growth, ensure high availability, deliver high performance and reduce operational cost. Scality’s award winning scale-out storage solution, the Scality RING, is based on a patented object storage technology and operates seamlessly on any commodity server hardware. Its distributed, shared-nothing, architecture creates a system with no single-point-of-failure.