Dear Aurelien, can you introduce yourself?
Hey guys, my name is Aurelien, a very social Shanghai-based French Entrepreneur hailing from a small city in the south of France called Montelimar. I came to Shanghai after spending some time in London and Chicago. I have been here now for 7 years and loving Shanghai more and more! I am deeply involved in the French Tech, the Entrepreneur Organization (EO) as well as in a few businesses. I really love to meet people with a strong story and culture.
Can you briefly introduce your company?
IT Consultis is a company I confounded with my brother Yoan and another entrepreneur called Thomas. From day one we have only had one single mission: to bring digital experiences to life with the best ROI for our clients. After 6 years, ITC has now over 65 people divided among 3 offices (we just opened one in Singapore 2 weeks ago, yay !). Our team is amazing, always doing an outstanding job.
To put it briefly, ITC is an agency doing design, tech and data. We are everything but a marketing agency.
Our goal is to become the leading independent digital agency in our field in APAC by the end of 2020. I know this is a really ambitious goal but we strongly believe in our capabilities.
I am also involved on another business with Yoan on a chain of restaurants called Urban Thai and Urban Touk Touk, but I am not involved as much.
My brother was already in town and had already set up a business. After finishing my study in the US, he asked me to join him. Since we were young we have always been super close (he was bringing me out when I was still underage, a good brother indeed), so I had no hesitation. On my first day after university and arriving in Shanghai, I was an entrepreneur. Definitely exciting but also scary.
In your opinion, what should France bring to China?
This perspective has evolved greatly in the last 7 years being here. 7 years ago I would have said a lot needed to be brought here. Now every day I am more and more amazed by what China is doing, especially on the digital landscape and infrastructure / construction. I would still say though that we have great brains and engineers in France who understand that China needs to be taken seriously.
In your opinion, what should China bring to France?
China has so much to bring to France in terms of overall strategic alignment from decision making to making it happen. China is also a fantastic market for all the French companies seeking to develop their business here. However, when entering the Chinese market it is important to know it very well or to have someone to trust.
Would you rather be a key employee of big company of your choice or be founder of a humble company? Why?
I would rather be the founder of a humble company. I believe that managing and influencing even a smaller amount of people is good enough. It is all about quality and not quantity.
When being a manager you need to try your best to spread your values throughout your organization, which is something that is pretty tough sometimes. In the end working in a company where I can bring something to the team in terms of values and experience where they can say at the end of the day, “I had a great adventure, a great leader and even if we worked hard, we did our best to succeed and I am grateful for it”. This is really one of my key drivers as an entrepreneur: Influencing people.
Would you rather know how to code like a boss or be able to talk decently in Chinese? Why?
Awesome question. Would love to do both of them.
Would you rather get started with an awesome prototype or get started with a clever partner? Why?
A clever partner. Teamwork makes the difference. I have 2 amazing ones. Actually 3 now, which is even better.
Would you rather spend a day in private with Jack Ma or receive 1 million renminbi? Why?
A million RMB for sure. I know and I hope I will spend that day with Jack Ma if I do reach my business objectives in the future.
Which Chinese startup do you find inspiring? Why?
Very classic answer for sure for a foreigner, but I would say WeChat and Tencent even though they have not been startups for a long time anymore
If you were a Chinese province, which one would you be? Why?
Shanghai for sure. Most dynamic and international one.
If you were a Chinese dish which one would you be? Why?
The Ribs of Di Shui Dong. They are soooo good.
Any advice in 3 words to give to those who would like to try their luck in entrepreneurship in Shanghai?
In 3 words? Seriously? I believe that is the most important question of this interview. I would say, meet as many people as possible, listen to them, to their stories without judging (this helps creating connections) and learn from their experience. Remain humble, then work super hard, manage your mind in the same way you do manage your body. Find great mentors and mentees, get into EO. Recently discovered the miracles or the miracle morning for Entrepreneur book, I highly recommend it. Gathering an amazing team of partners and colleagues as well as finding the support from family or friends. Being an entrepreneur is working hard and finding the zone of maximization. Almost 3 words, see :)
Thanks a million for giving me the opportunity to connect with the members of the French Tech. I am grateful for it and will humbly try my best to continue serving our great community.