Guest blog through Olivier Withouck from San Fransisco
I walk into Union Square along Post Street, a trendy neighborhood in the city. Amid the expensive clothing stores such as Façonnable and Burberry's is the office of Sparkcentral, the start-up company of the Flemish Davy Kestens. The company has had a solid investment round.
It's about $ 4.5 million that the Davy company could pick up. This should give SparkCentral room to expand. This time the money comes largely from the American venture capitalist Sigma West. Other investors include The Social + Capital Partnership, Graph Ventures and the Belgian Playfish co-founder Sebastien de Halleux.
The office looks more like a living space. There are flashy seats, vintage bicycles, a Christmas tree with Christmas presents from and for the employees. I wait a moment because Davy is just finishing a meeting. We get acquainted. “I have an hour. We can have lunch. There is a nice Asian lunch bar behind the corner. It's a bit messy here. There are few people. Had a Christmas party yesterday with my colleagues. It turned out a bit. Well-celebrated, good quarter behind us. ”He is well-tempered, serious, focused.
“Born in Belgium, Raised in California”
“I've been here two years now. It has been a roller coaster. It seems like I've only been here four months. Today the company has 16 employees. By February it should be 25. We just hired a recruiter because I don't have the time to do interviews myself. Attracting talent here is not easy. Talented people have plenty of choice here. It will be even more difficult soon because the big guys are coming to the City, leaving their offices in the Valley. Google and Facebook are coming to the city. Google uses wifi buses so that employees can do their job when they are in a traffic jam. Traffic from the city to the Valley becomes difficult. The traffic jams during rush hours become difficult. "
“Oracle is also in our market. We want to take on the confrontation. ”The company recently changed its name for strategic reasons. Twittspark has become Sparkcentral. "Because we want to focus on customer service for all major social media platforms, not just Twitter. ”He is discreet about the company's turnover. Rightly so because it is a private company. “The aviation sector in particular is a hit. We have Delta Airlines as a nice reference. The rest of the airline companies understand our added value. ”The sales cycles are short. “On average 2 to 3 months. Last week we signed a deal in less than 2 weeks. "Companies immediately see the added value."
“The market here is better than ours. We mainly focus on large organizations that receive a lot of feedback from consumers about their products and services on Facebook and Twitter. The criticisms that consumers give via social media end up directly with the right people through our solution. They can respond quickly, which is important for customer satisfaction. ”Davy is straightforward, no frills. The sobriety and modesty of Limburg. Feet on the floor and hard work.
“Two weeks to Belgium next week to celebrate Christmas with friends and family. ”We settle the sushi and separate our ways with a warm greeting.