Pivoting is commonplace in the start-up ecosystem. But the one realized by Simon Dawlat is one of the most significant in the history of French Tech. Five years after creating AppGratis, a solution that featured a different application every day, and a few weeks after raising 10 million euros in funds, Apple banned the start-up from its store. The activity ceased at the beginning of 2017 but that of its branch, Batch, created in 2015, continues and makes its hole in the world of marketing.
This “phoenix” start-up, which allows application editors to send mobile and web notifications, now works with large accounts such as Société Générale, Fnac-Darty, Oui. SNCF and Casino, media such as “Le Monde” and “Le Parisien”, and since 2020 the Government Information Service (SIG). Around 30% of its customers are foreign, such as Axel Springer, FC Bayern in Germany, Kingfisher (Castorama’s parent company) in the United Kingdom.
7 million euros in turnover in 2020
Almost 400 billion pushes are sent per year via 10,000 sites and applications. For a total of 500 million unique monthly visitors.
On the financial side, the young shoot recorded a turnover of 7 million euros in 2020, or 40% more than in 2019, the year of profitability (with an EBITDA of half a million euros) . But far from the target of 10 million because of a slowdown in activity in the second quarter of 2020. “We have not lost a customer,” says Simon Dawlat. The start-up is targeting 50% growth in 2021 and 100% in 2022 and 2023.
To meet these objectives, Batch finally went back to fundraising and announced that it had completed a round of funding of 20 million euros with the British fund Expedition Capital and Orange Ventures. Iris Capital is exiting capital.
“A fund has a lifespan that is not eternal. As we invested almost nine years ago, we could not stay because it would not have been compatible with our liquidity constraints ”, explains Erik de la Rivière, managing partner at Iris Capital.
Strengthen the corporate culture
Batch has planned to contract debt, between 3 and 6 million euros, from banks and bpifrance. This double funding will allow it to recruit 150 people by the end of 2022, who will be added to the current team of 70 people distributed between Paris and Lyon. Offices will be opened in Marseille, London and Berlin.
The new funds will be dedicated to topics of corporate culture, which take up more and more space as a start-up grows. For example, Batch is already funding a program that facilitates procedures around the nursery.
“It is very expensive but it allows to minimize the psychological pressure of people who do not want to end their professional career following the arrival of a child”, estimates Simon Dawlat who also wants to focus on the issues of diversity, inclusion and ecology. “I want to come every morning to a company where I am proud to work and not just in a company that spits out Ebitda and carries on fundraising,” says the boss. A philosophy that will not prevent it from resuming in 2023.