“I remember it like it was yesterday, tells an amused Jed, a long time coworker. I saw Xavier Corman coming in with a triumphal air about him and announce: I’m launching my startup”. Nearly four years later, Edebex – the aforementioned – is leaving the building that is the home of Betacowork. The offices were getting a bit tight for a team that grows each month. Coming back to the progress of a coworker that one could say has been blessed by the coworking ecosystem. From freelance to the chief of a company that’s really taking off.
Xavier Corman started at Betacowork in the summer of 2011. At that time he was working as a freelance financial director. “ Financial director is maybe a big word, he says, “you could say I helped guide companies in their financial management.” At his arrival, logically, none of his clients were in ICAB or Betacowork. Then, slowly but surely, Xavier began to attract in – house. “Four or five people, mainly start ups. With some great ideas in their hands, he adds, smiling. “This was a how a great adventure started with Patrick Nollet. We met at a workshop for financial planning, then I worked with him to raise 300.000€ for the company: Cleverphone. Now he’s been working for me at Edebex for several months”. “And we even go on holiday together”,chuckles Patrick who was just passing by during the interview.
Another collaboration, much shorter but as memorable : Davy Kestens. “ Davy launched the start up TwitSpark (which has since become SparkCentral) several weeks previously and had set up a meeting, through Betacowork, with Sébastien de Halleux, in San Francisco; Xavier explains. It was Friday night and the setting was for the following Thursday. In the meantime he needed a financial plan. We passed the Monday and Tuesday nights working on it with his father. A while later, he had raised 1. 125 million dollars.”
Thanks to these success stories – and others – Xavier has learned a great deal. “Above all I’ve learned how others succeed : I needed to provide a service to scale, an A-team and sufficient financing to launch a project.” And then it was a question of finding an idea that combined these three conditions. “I was full of ideas, but Edebex was the only one that complied to the three criteria.”
Note: Edebex is a market space that’s offers businesses to optimal their funding through selling on their client’s invoices – their creditors – to investors and wish to add value to who have an excess in funding and are looking to add value to it. “I had the idea during a client meeting. Whilst I was there, he called his banker, not as is often the case, to ask for funds, but to withdraw. He wanted to withdraw cash because he no longer had trust. If your bank goes bust, I’m bust too. I had to find another way of investment for this client . . . and Edebex was born.” After, the basic idea was evidently more convoluted than it is now. “With Aissa Laroussi, who I met at a Betacowork organised event, we worked it all out and we set it all up by creating the first team, with France Watelet and Jon McLennan.”
“In the beginning nobody was on the project full time. We all mades the effort to come on Thursdays to Betawork from September 2012.” That’s when discussions with investors began. The company itself was founded in January 2013. The first person to start full time began in the summer of that year. The platform was launched in it’s turn in September. “And we had to take our first private office in ICAB in December, Xavier Corman almost regrets. “ I was happy in the cowering space. I nearly could have worked like the data.be team and stayed there despite the growth, but as we deal with a lot of highly sensitive data, it wasn’t possible.” In 2014 we saw our first program for raising funds to a million euros, growth, second office and obtaining the license as an establishment of payment. In 2015, the company continued its forward march: second raising of funds, three million this time. In 2016, the team counted nearly 30 people. It was time to leave the Betacowork/Icab ecosystem. “Even if I keep, from a personal perspective, a foot in Betacowork, we were installed in five offices. It was no longer possible.” New direction: a large open surface in the Omega Court Building, Delta.
When asked what retains from from his years passed at Betacowork and Icab, Xavier gives us a vision of an ecosystem with two facets. “On the one hand, a world that is dynamic, that moves, that changes, that evolves. . . On the other hand one could say that the building has been built around certain individuals, which makes it a bit static, like a small village. A village I will miss: When you walk out of your office, you always meet someone, which makes the difference from just being with your colleagues.” A last point that Xavier insists upon: “A village maybe, but a village that’s totally open. I had the chance to meet people with the character of Sébastien de Halleux or Nellie Kroes, that’s really something in itself. To talk to this kind of person always means a breath of fresh air.”
Good luck Xavier, and see you soon.
The original post has been published by Mateusz in the French version of this blog. Translation into English by our coworker Jeremy Blezard.