When success is there, growth is around 100% a year and investors are courting you, it's easy to get drunk. But Nicolas Dessaigne remains modest.
However, we would not want the co-founder of Algolia if he took a big head. The start-up he founded in 2012 with Julien Lemoine and who offers companies to integrate a search tool on their sites, applications or software, has raised $ 110 million. A round table that makes it enter the closed circle of the largest fundraising by French start-ups. " It is a success of course, but it is above all a confirmation by the market which is in continuity. A mark of confidence that will allow us to invest in growth "Confides in all modesty the CEO, Nicolas Dessaigne.
While he obviously knows the need to continue to grow quickly, the entrepreneur, based in San Francisco where Algolia moved his headquarters in 2014, stands out for his insistence on what he calls "the values of the box ", the two co-founders had thought about since the launch of the company. " We wanted an environment that suits us, with the desire that everyone works as if it were his own box. Then it got better when we grew up. " Their values: grit (perseverance), trust (trust), care (support), CANDOR (honesty and ability to say and hear sometimes negative feedback) and humility (humility). Words that the entrepreneur states in English " because in French, they spend less well ! ".
This culture, at the heart of its convictions, evolves according to past capes. "I tell myself that I have never learned as much as in the past 12 months and I say this every year! That's what makes the adventure exciting ! He admits. The growth is dazzling. It peaked last year at 90%. An ascension that characterizes the company since its creation. In seven years, it has grown from two founders to 350 people in six offices: Paris (which remains the largest office), San Francisco, Atlanta, New York City, London and Tokyo. 8000 customers worldwide use their search technology totaling two billion queries per day.
Among the customers, e-commerce sites (Dior, Garmin …), media (National Geographic, France TV, NPR …) or apps (WeWork, Zendesk …). " We are addressing any type of business. Our goal: to offer a search tool as powerful as those of Google or Amazon » explains Nicolas Dessaigne, before adding "People are used to using them and want the same experience, which is impossible to achieve for most boxes … ".
The idea that brings together this engineer, computer science doctor, and Julien Lemoine, the technical director, is to fill this gap. " At this moment, I I wondered where to lead my career and I wanted to mount a box. Julien, with whom I worked closely, was more advanced on this project and we decided to join forces "Says the entrepreneur, who then headed the Exalead R & D teams (Dassault Systèmes).
The specificity of their product? A search tool in the form of an API, an interface through which clients connect to their services and offers multiple functionalities thanks to flexible modules that are easy to implement. The challenge is to ensure the best possible user experience, whether it's a consumer or an in-house employee. "Çhas three criteria: the speed of display of results, their relevance and design Says the Frenchman.
So many areas that they continuously improve and that the fundraising will support. " The answers are personalized according to profiles, tastes and research history, they integrate potential typing errors, adapt to brands and contexts, with research by voice for example » explains the CEO. Essential innovations to stay competitive in a competitive market, " our main competitors being the box teams who create their own search engines with Open Source tools ".
In order to optimize its offer, Algolia now has 2000 servers worldwide and the mega-lift will allow it to see even bigger. This is not to scare Nicolas Dessaigne, who can both say that "lthe sense of humility is imperative, that one must accept to be wrong, not to know everything " and at the same time launch "Sky is the limit " to describe his ambition for Algolia.