Frederic Laluyaux grinding to building Aera
Fighting back: Launched a venture at 23 in a garage in a Paris suburb when it wasn't yet a thing in France. Raised $3mm to use EDI terminals, which the internet eventually made redundant. Not finding an exit, cut his teeth in product and sales at ALG software which itself sold right when it was catching a $1mm ARR wave to SAP. Then became CEO of Anaplan and currently CEO of Aera.
Selling enterprise software for the first time at ALG: Be hungry and work really hard. 8-10 hrs in the day selling to CFOs and spending all night getting the deck ready for the next day. You learn execution excellence when you're short on capital and need to make payroll. You have to close the sale and win. Always think back on the times when you were poor to keep the momentum going.
Finding product market fit: Taking Anaplan from $0- $10mm meant finding a wave to ride. You can't create a wave. Its like being a surfer. Is it a problem people want to solve over other problems.
Finding growth at Anaplan: $100mm+ story: At $10mm ARR, they decided they'd go large enterprise, platform and global. But a mentor suggested remaining a small, local app. But stuck to plan since the cloud enables rapid distribution. Important to operate like a $100mm company at $10mm. $10 - $100mm ARR in 4 years. 650 people. 16 countries. Think about getting to $1bn using the 1K cubed strategy: 1k companies, 1k users, each paying $1k.
Aera story: With ALG, SAP, Anaplan, the common thread was we'll make spreadsheets better. Pain removal has a ceiling. With value creation like at Aera, the sky is the limit.
Finding growth with Aera: Focus on execution. The minute you get to $10k ARR, stop innovating and listen. Ask why the customer purchased. Fight to make them successful. Then find the exact same company and the next one and the next one. Early adopters/pioneers are willing to cross the chasm with you. Each following wave will feel easier.
Hiring: Find interviewees that have an edge. Hire the right people vs easy people. It's easy to hire someone with polish. Don't hire someone like yourself. Find people who will challenge your decisions, but then do the right thing.