Meet with Pascal Latouche, Director of Orange Fab France & Coordinator Orange Fab International Network.
I’ve worked for Orange as a programme director, business development director, and head of Anticipation Time to Market. I’ve been Director Orange Fab France for three years, and have recently combined this with coordinating the Orange Fab network. My strength? Pragmatism: I am able to work with different people and situations.
“Creating a start-up isn’t a technology or business project, it’s a life project!”
Open innovation is part of the Orange DNA, and it is also a necessity. The world has become very competitive and so an operator must react quickly with innovative solutions. That’s what motivated us to create Orange Fab – which is now in 14 countries worldwide.
We have a multiple role. Firstly, we’ve created a start-up-BU ecosystem that works. I often say I have a “matchmaker” role: I encourage the relationship between the BU and the start-up, and Orange Fab is like the marital home! The couple has work well – it’s key to its success but also a criterion for selection. To become part of Orange Fab, the start-up has to have a relevant solution that can solve a problem in 6 months and also have complementary skills to the BU it is associated with. Next, we play a mediation role between the start-up and the BU, whose challenges, work pace and objectives might differ. Finally, we help the start-up in its commercial agreements with Orange, the Group’s major accounts and also internationally. This guarantees the start-up is financially independent, one of our key aims. For start-ups who are really new on the scene, it is as important to find customers as it is to find funding.
In parallel, we provide start-ups with marketing, technical, legal support and expertise… the people side is essential. Creating a start-up is above all else a life project! Helping start-ups succeed certainly enables them to make money. But this is just one aspect of their success, and not maybe the original objective, as it is their passion and enthusiasm that motivates them.
Every start-up and every entrepreneur is different. So we always work in a pragmatic way. We’re also efficient, because Orange Fab France has already seen some great successes, not to mention the coordination at the scale of the Orange Fab international network, which will open up new opportunities for start-ups for sure.
“Make the most of all the services available to you, the people you meet and the mentors who can support you.”
Yasmine Bahri Domon, the founder of Textolife, the start-up that enables you to save all of your SMS, MMS, WhatsApp and Messenger conversations.
In what way did you work with Orange Fab France?
We started to follow Pascal Latouche on Twitter and found out about Orange Fab France season 5 through him. After applying to the programme, we were brought in to pitch, and then we were selected! As we were entering a whole new world of working, our meeting with Pascal and the Orange Fab team was life changing.
What did you expect?
We hoped to sign a partnership with a business unit, which we did. We wanted to make use of the technical and marketing support, among other things, which we got thanks to Orange Fab and the mentors who helped us.
What have you achieved thanks to Orange Fab acceleration?
We’ve gone from being a family business to a proper start-up, with real goals and a business plan. This has allowed us to accelerate our growth by developing new ideas for our product.
What stage are you at today? What are your short and medium-term plans?
We’re currently reviewing our technical tools to deliver the best possible user experience. We aim to extend our offer internationally and lead the field in the backup and printing of digital conversations within 5 years.
What advice would you give a start-up about to integrate into the Orange Fab network?
Make the most of all the services available to you, the people you meet and the mentors who can support. Learn from their experiences and speak with your business unit to negotiate better. You can also say that the Orange Group is always ready to listen and help you.