Board Member of French Tech Moscow
Founder of Opal Agency, a spin-off startup of Altima Russia
General Manager at Ecritel Russia
Member of the Trianon Dialogue Coordination Council
Graduated in International Economics from Paris-Dauphine, Euryale Chatelard has lived more than 25 years abroad in 6 countries: Washington (the USA), London (the UK), Beijing (China), Athens (Greece), Montreal (Canada) and currently, she has been living for 7 years in Moscow. Her entrepreneurial experience began in China in digital commerce:
● Co-founder of a startup in eCommerce in Beijing, Shanghai and Moscow with accelerated growth from 0 to 40 employees between 2009 and 2013. The company was acquired by Altima in 2013
● For 5 years Ms. Euryale Chatelard had been Partner Director of Altima Russia subsidiary before it was acquired by Accenture Interactive in 2018
● Founder of Opal-Agency, a spin-off startup from Altima Russia
● General Manager at Ecritel Russia — Hosting and Information Systems in Russia
In addition to her professional activity, Euryale initiated two “Travailler Ensemble” (- Working Together) Forums in Moscow, and was appointed as a member of the Trianon Dialogue Coordination Council where she initiated to launch the Trianon Startups Forum.
General manager of Opal-Agency which provides optimization for websites. We do Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and CRO (conversation rate optimisation) with help of the analytics.
Tell us about your previous work experiences
In the past I founded my first company which was a web agency in China with 2 other co-founders. We opened it in Beijing and Shanghai, then in Moscow. We sold the company to Altima which was more French agency that was doing the same as us, but wanted to expand in China and Russia. The particularity of our first agency that we found is that we were addressing foreign clients in China. For foreigners coming to China there were difficulties how does the market work on a web, so we had much confidence to go with foreign companies. When we decided to open in Moscow, there were with the same principles that was 8 years ago.
After I continued as a partner with Altima for a while till it was bought by Accenture Interactive. Then I decided to create a spin-off of the company, my own agency 100% independent to continue in Moscow in the web where we have very good expertise, we stopped focusing on the development of the web sites and we decided to focus on SEO and optimizing websites for the conversion rates.
What is Trianon Startups? How did you come up with the idea?
I was nominated by the Trianon Dialogue launched by the president of Russia Mr. Putin and president of France Mr. Macron as a member of Coordination Council which was launched in order to help civil societies to collaborate. Politically we do not always have the same vision, however it is very important to maintain the dialogue between the civil societies.
As members of the Coordination Committee from the French side we have bright personalities as Mr. Patrick Pouyanné, president of Total Group, Ms. Catherine Pégard, President of Châteaux de Versaille; Claudie Haigneré, astronaute; Frédéric Mazzella, president and founder of BlaBlaCar; Laurent Hilaire, Director of Stanislavski Ballet as well as some university figures and members of the French Academy of Sciences. Basically, the objective was to have very diverse profiles within the Dialogue de Trianon from the French side in order to have the dialogue between all these domains.
I was nominated to represent entrepreneurs and startups which were not represented by others. At the first meeting we had with our president I proposed that we could have meetings as it is very difficult for startups to have access to corporate groups and it is even more difficult in another country. I proposed that they could have meetings between startups and corporates within two countries that was very well received. Ms. Catherine Pégard directly told me that it could be done in Versaille and Mr. Patrick Pouyanné told us that he could support the project. That’s how we decided to create Trianon Startups Forum within the Trianon Dialogue. In fact, Trianon Startups project is a series of two events. One hosts Russian startups in Versaille to meet French corporate groups in order to let Russian startups to access the French market and think about France as a place to expand their business instead of the USA or Germany or the UK, which is not always evident for Russian startups. On another side, the second event were held at the Pushkin Museum in order to host French startups willing to expand in Russia. In the same sense it is to make think the startups about the country that way they did not think in the beginning. These two events took place on April 15, 2019 in Versaille and on February 3, 2020 in the Pushkin Museum.
For the moment in Moscow it is still too early to talk about the results as in general it takes some time to sign the contracts, however in Versailles we have good outcomes. We have many contracts that have already been signed, one subsidiary was opened in France just after Trianon Startups and we have more global partnership to be discussed following Versaille that it is currently being finalized.
We had 31 French startups that came to the event and 23 Russian corporate groups — major actors of the Russian market including Gazprombank, VTB, Sberbank, Lukoil, Rosneft.
We did a survey with our participants that the results could have been, so they answered that they would have up to 5 signed contracts following Trianon Startups. Of course, they have to work on it, however it has good perspectives.
What was special for the event in Moscow?
Two sessions were quite similar, we had a bit more corporate groups in Moscow obviously as a first event was very successful, the more people were willing to participate in the second one. Both events were held at a good atmosphere, put people in a good will to make business, 18 slots of meetings during the day same as in Versaille.
There is a very big spread of the information even for French Tech and people are encouraging us to do more meetings as it is very efficient for everybody. In one day you have so many meetings, meetings are short and very efficient.
On our side we think that it is good to have one year in France, one year in Russia.
On another side, for French tech would be good to hold small meetings in sectors activities as for example, artificial intelligence. And also regions — one small city in France and one city in Russia that are definitely not Paris or Moscow to have small meetings under Trianon Startups to favor the collaboration between startups.
French Tech in Moscow
French Tech Moscow is very important for me, it is good network. When we are together we have much more visibility. We are all French tech companies — French subsidiaries, entrepreneurs, that is why is it important for us to be united. If it is IT or innovation, we should be all united to have a voice among the Russians, that they know that French Tech is strong and can bring a lot for others. It is important for Russia and for French tech companies that would love to come here and know that they have the support from French Tech Moscow community.
I even wrote first documents to be sent to be registered as a French Tech Hub here in Moscow. So, I submitted the documents to be validated as a French Tech Hub. We were quickly validated, among firsts international French Tech’s.
We had launching ceremony of with our minister of economy and digital in France that was by that time Mr. Macron. He inaugurated our hub in Skolkovo. And then we switched from Hub to the community. The change was made because we wanted to switch towards entrepreneurs and startups within the country.
Tell us a bit about your business. Why Russia?
I have lived in the USA, London, Canada, Greece, China, now I am in Moscow. I have been an expat all my life, it is a way of working for me. I am really attached to Russia, more than to other countries I have previously lived. For the simple reason that people here are real, sensitive, willing to go forward and hard-working. Between the sensitivity and hard-working that’s how I feel I work as well.
Culture is amazing for me. I feel much closer to the Russian culture which is an European for me rather than I felt in the USA or China.
The advantages are multiple for me. Firstly, I feel that this French-Russian collaboration is not enough understood, especially in France. I think we could do a lot on this as people mainly know about Russia from media. Probably many people as me once they live and work here they understand the real country. On the business side,
I have also another activity, I am a General manager subsidiary of Ecritel in Russia. We host major websites in France and in Russia we used to host Auchan among the others but then we lost our clients because of the data privacy law in Russia in 2015 and we were not ready to host websites here. After this Ecritel decided to have a subsidiary here and we decided to have strong partnership to host in order to comply with our clients. This is an opportunity between web optimization and hosting as I can address a lot of different activities of French or international subsidiaries that are willing to install their websites here and project management for me this is definitely day-to-day business opportunity.
Definitely, Russian is a must. My staff speak Russian. It is not possible to work here without Russian-speaking staff. But i would say that most of the times, especially in the field of technology, for French startups it is difficult to come here, because of different barriers as language, administration, corruption and others. honestly, as SME business you do not face it, you just need to find a good partner and it goes very smoothly. For 8 years I have never faced corruption. as one of the other barrier it is said that all the IT softwares need to be done by Russian companies. First of all, if you open a subsidiary then of course you are considered as a Russian company.
If you address yourself to public contracts, then you need to be a fully Russian company. Before addressing to public, there are years and years of expansion within the country which is pretty much accessible for everybody.
Startups are small business, they are often not represented at all. As I say, it is important to have big contracts signed for them as Total, Engie etc. — all those major actors on the market. That is done by many competent people.
When you are a startup and sign many small contracts in the end it is a big contract. That is why for me it is important that we have here a representation of startups.
Today, I think Trianon Startups is one of the most important events for the community. One of the objectives of French Tech is to provide the visibility for French technologies in different countries. Another object is to favor the investments in technological innovation. For example, the Russian startups that came to France, we are giving them the access to the French market, and for France it is very good as well, because these are the new investments coming to France.
That was the idea of Trianon Startups that we have more and more companies that would join our French Tech community in Moscow. So, I expect that some of those startups will come to here and become a part of our community.
How do you see French Tech Moscow in the near future? What are the opportunities to collaborate with ?
I like direct contacts. We need to create one-to-one contacts between communities in France to exchange practices that will be very impactful. So, I think the exchanges between the French Tech communities will be very efficient to understand the priorities of the work, give them our ideas, make them think that Russia is the place for their development.
What can be done to improve French Tech KPI’s?
I think we should intensify the meetings with corporates, even with French companies in Moscow, as many companies nowadays have their tech and innovative departments to accompany them and show them that there are something that has already been done by the French Tech companies in Russia, that’s how they could choose us, choose France.