Q&A with WannaSpeak Founders
In this week’s blog, we’re excited to feature a Q&A with WannaSpeak founders, and new iovox team members, Thibaut Behaghel and Benoit Dausse. On January 15th, 2019, iovox announced the acquisition of WannaSpeak, a France-based call tracking provider, and appointed Thibaut and Benoit to new roles that will be instrumental in shaping the future of the company. Keep reading to learn more about their journey, how they went from working in the very first European call tracking business, to joining forces with iovox, a global company, with customers in more than 30 countries and offices in London, Paris, San Francisco, and Sydney.
Q: How did WannaSpeak get started?Thibaut: We got our start in call tracking with eStara, which was the first European call tracking system in the market, and we became quite successful. eStara was later acquired by ATG and then eventually by Oracle. We’ve always had the entrepreneurial itch, and a few years after leaving Oracle we decided that we wanted to try our hand at starting our own business. We wanted to continue to provide services to customers that were no longer being offered by our former company.
Q: WannaSpeak has some impressive customers. How did you carve out your spot in the market?Benoit: There are many reasons, actually. We listen–a lot–to what our customers are trying to accomplish, and this has always led us to good outcomes. We’ve been innovative and have delivered on our promises, and always did our best to support our customers once they were live. It sounds simple, but, it’s actually quite challenging and takes a lot of effort to do it right. We have some big brands like Orange, Axel Springer, Bouygues Telecom, Total (Direct Énergie), BNP Paribas and Audi that rely on us every day and we take that very seriously. These are the kinds of things that have helped us grow and build a good reputation in the industry.
Q: Business is good. You’re growing and profitable. Why sell?Thibaut: Our industry is about to undergo significant changes. With companies merging with one another, we felt we needed to raise capital, accelerate our growth and invest in new technology, or, partner with a company that we believed was headed in a direction that matched where we believe the market is going.
Benoit: Thibaut described it well. We’re keen to continue to be part of shaping where the industry is headed. With our growth and strong financials, we could have raised money, but we agreed that the best way forward was in finding the right partner.
Q: Can you share a bit about the process you went through to arrive at this outcome?Thibaut: We reflected on our core strengths as a company, and listed them on both a short teaser document, as well as a detailed memorandum. Once we identified potential buyers, and had a confidentiality agreement in place, we were not shy about sharing our details as well as our thoughts on market dynamics. This sharing process validated our thoughts about our business but also gave us insights into the visions of the companies we were talking to. We were quite pleased with the level of interest we generated from a variety of potential strategic buyers and we quickly opted for innovative companies with a telecommunication focus. We wound up with multiple offers, and by the end of the process, we agreed that iovox was clearly the best fit for us.
Q: Why choose iovox?Benoit: Naturally we looked at the financial offer, but for both Thibaut and I, there was much more driving our decision to go with iovox. We both feel that we are not yet ready to retire and leave the industry altogether. We both ideally wanted to continue to be active participants in building the future of the business. Ryan Gallagher and Dan Luis, (the CEO and COO of iovox respectively), genuinely valued our industry experience and we were impressed with how thorough and thoughtful they were with us throughout the process. There were never any gaps in communication and that meant a lot to us given how important this was to us and our families.
Thibaut: As Benoit said, we’re eager to grow and one of the reasons we wanted part of the deal to be in stock is that we believe iovox has something unique to the industry, and that’s a strong mobile solution that can handle inbound and outbound call tracking. Personally, I’m so excited about that area that it will be among my primary focuses in my new role. We believe iovox has the potential to become the standard for call tracking when it comes to mobile. In addition, iovox is truly a global company. For years, iovox and WannaSpeak have competed head to head in France so we know they fully understand the French market, but we were not aware of the extent of their global diversity until we met their staff. Being in iovox headquarters is like being in the United Nations with all the languages being spoken! This company is special and truly one-of-a-kind, our team quickly felt right at home.
Q: Now that you are part of the team at iovox, what are some of the things that excite you the most about the future?Thibaut: The first week of this year was spent with team iovox in London working on our integration plans, and it feels like we’ve been working together for years. The iovox culture seems very collaborative. For the future, we are most excited about the potential for growth. We think the sky is the limit. We are also excited about the new products, and that’s where I’ll be spending a lot of my time- building partnerships and shaping the distribution channels for our new mobile solutions. I am optimistic about this new challenge. Until now, emphasizing mobile solutions has not occurred for the call tracking industry, we are breaking new ground.
Benoit: Thibaut and I wanted to find a company that cared as much about our staff as we did, and we have found that company in iovox. For me, I’m most excited about the opportunity for global growth. Iovox is strong in marketplaces and directory services and WannaSpeak is strong in e-commerce and marketing performance applications with our dynamic call tracking and click-to-call solutions. Together, with mobile, we have an unparalleled range of products available for customers in a variety of vertical markets. This truly sets us apart and gives us new opportunities with existing customers as well as an advantage when competing for new business. In this early stage we’re having a lot of fun and enjoying cultivating relationships with our new team mates. That’s a big part of what we were hoping for.