Small and medium-sized companies, a lever for growth
Digimind's story began in a Grenoble kitchen
In 1998, Paul Vivant and Patrice François were just 22 and 23 years old.
Together with two other school friends, they created a start-up specialising in the development of market intelligence software.
Digimind designs IT applications to improve companies' knowledge of their markets and anticipate oncoming changes.
"We didn't have any money or special connections," explains Paul Vivant. We worked like mad on four computers. It was hard to persuade new customers to take us on, particularly major companies.
We were young and inexperienced. But we found that once people realise you are highly motivated, they are ready to trust you".
Success was almost immediate.
Nowadays large corporations such as Alstom, Unilever, EADS Veolia and France Telecom use Digimind's services, whose annual sales figures (€3.3 million last year) increase by an average 60% every year.
"Our growth has always been profitable and self-financed", states Patrice François. The number of staff at Digmind is also on the increase, with 25 employees last year, 40 this year and a projected figure of 100 in two years' time.
The company has offices in London, Rabat, Paris and Grenoble.
[…] Digimind's leaders have their own ideas on how to boost growth in France: they think more contact needs to be encouraged between public research laboratories and small and medium-sized companies ("it's often difficult for small companies to establish working relations with laboratories") and that companies should have greater access to public markets.
"We love the idea of a “Small Business Act” which would ensure small companies won a certain share of public contracts," they advise, and add, "Particularly as our technologies are of great interest to several ministries."