I met with Sylvain Tillon a few weeks ago in the course of the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program set-up by Dominique Van Deth. I must say I was quite impressed by his entrepreneurship know-how. This was not the end of my surprise: he then mentioned the intrapreneurship spirit that Tilkee has developed, and I couldn’t resist to ask him to share this awesome experience with us.
1) Hi Sylvain, tell us what is Tilkee value proposition, when it was founded, and how it is greatly developing?
Tilkee was created in December 2013 by Timothée Saumet, and myself. Between us we’d previously launched 7 startups, and were decided to work on this new project together as we felt it had a lot of mileage. Our experience in previous companies revealed to us a common problem. Salespeople would send out proposals and quotes to prospects or clients all the time. They would then randomly follow-up with as many prospects as they could, not knowing who had read what, when, for how long and therefore without knowing who was genuinely interested, and how to prioritise leads. So inefficient and time & money down the drain.
This is why we created Tilkee! Tilkee tells you exactly when, how, and for how long anyone reads any document you sent through any channel. And you’re alerted in real-time! This SaaS tool was initially created for sales in SMEs and startups in France. 3 years down the line, not only are customers sales teams in industries as diverse as transport, insurance & energy, using Tilkee, but also marketing teams, job seekers, recruiters and many more. We have 2 platforms (one entirely dedicated to sales, and the other to marketing). And clients range all the way from tiny startups to multinational global names like EDF (French energy utility) or ADECCO (French interim company).
2) Tilkee’s culture seems nurtured with innovation: how do you explain it? The success receipe seems a mix of start-up spirit, founders and employee’s profile, using innovation as a recruitment criteria?
Yes, Tilkee is full of innovation. This is what has driven us to think up so many new tools which are currently on the market, or on their way to market today, from connected objects to entirely new SaaS platforms like Tilkee for Marketing.
We’re not intrinsically innovative simply because we’re a startup: ‘startup’ doesn’t always equate ‘innovation’. For me, b2b innovation comes with learning, and experiencing how companies work, what they need, where they’re struggling. This is why I am now part of such an innovative team because we’re all constantly working, and meeting companies of all sizes in all sectors with their own problems to solve. This experience gives you an innovative mind. Being innovative is of course a great trait in a startup employee but it’s not an obligatory criteria for us.
In terms of educational backgrounds the team includes the business school route but also engineering and tech background as well as languages. The diversity of our team is what makes our team great (in my eyes)!
3) Can you share how the Intrapreneurs Day work at Tilkee?
Every year, at the beginning of September, the entire team takes part in something we called ‘Startup Friday’! The web developers present their ideas to the whole team and based on the best ideas, groups of salespeople and devs are formed. Each team works throughout the day to take the initial idea and come up with a business model, landing page and fully functioning prototype by 18:00. Each idea is then pitched and demoed to the whole team.
It’s a great day which encourages the web developers and sales teams to mix and work together. It’s interesting for both groups to see the ins and outs of the work that the other does and this is actually beneficial for the whole team all year round.
Not only is it interesting, and a lot of fun but we genuinely dedicate resources to each new innovation, and do our best to take them to market just like Tilkee for Marketing, Foxy the connected fox, Tilkee for Events, Autolike, Copilot and SemanTilk which have all come out of ‘Startup Friday’!
4) Are there some employees’ innovations you would like to highlight, and promote?
I would like to highlight them all but this would result in multiple pages! Tilkee for Marketing is one of the most sought after innovations from ‘Startup Friday’ 2016. Tilkee for Marketing is an entirely new platform and separate from original Tilkee (which is more orientated towards sales). It allows marketers to track exactly how their marketing material is being read including time spent on each page by each lead, no matter which channel the marketeer sent the document through (social media, available online, emailing campaigns etc). Tilkee for Marketing is integrated into most marketing automation tools for improved lead scoring, better qualified leads and improved content.
5) What the next intrapreneur challenge you would like to set-up?
We’re already looking forward to ‘Startup Friday’ 2018! But in the meantime, we’re focusing on getting Copilot, Autolike, SemanTilk, and Tilkee for Events to market!