Who are you, apart from being Neety's founder?
I'm Benjamin, I'm 36 years old, I arrived in Lyon 4 years ago but I lived mainly in Haute-Savoie until I was 30. Above all, I am someone who is passionate about nature, the environment and technology.
And if not, what do you do for a living... professionally? What's your role in your daily life?
I'm running the company I founded, Neety. I define its development strategy, I touch on everything from the financial aspects with fundraising and accounting, but also the marketing and communication dimensions. We're a small company, so we have our noses all over the place to make it work every day.
A word about your career between BSB and your current job?
I had a bit of an unexpected journey. In any case, when I left BSB I thought it was all drawn up but finally it is not really the case. I was first a product manager and marketing manager in the wood industry, then I was looking for a job before working as an entertainer in a tourist office. So today I am not only an entrepreneur, but also a temporary professor at BSB.
Why don't you introduce Neety to a child?
Neety, it's for cleaning out mailboxes and it's good for the planet. And if I had to develop for his parents, I would specify that it is a web solution that will allow to clean the mailboxes: we first scan them and then we make suggestions to keep only the relevant emails, by proposing a number of actions according to the customer's expectations. An email consumes about 10g of CO2 on average, and it can go much higher with attachments. By saving storage costs by blocking or deleting unnecessary emails, you are helping to protect the environment.
A striking anecdote to tell?
Neety was born in BSB during a Startup Weekend, in 2015. I pitched it at that point and started working on it right away.
Last or greatest success/greatest pride you should have celebrated more?
Neety's commercialization last summer. We didn't celebrate it, but we should have, because it takes a lot of work and effort.
The biggest problem you've had so far with Neety?
Bringing out a B to C entrepreneurial project in an environment where you are not used to paying. For people, emails are free. You have to be able to create and offer a product with significant added value for them to be willing to pay.
What’s a game changer, according to you?
Someone who'll break the codes, someone who dares. Whatever you dare to do, whatever you do, you participate in change, in making things happen.
Someone who inspires you?
Recently, I think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an American politician, the youngest candidate ever elected to Congress. It's shaking up the political class in the United States a little bit and I think it's helping to change attitudes.
Your morning routine to have the energy to change things every day?
Every morning when I go to work, I put good music in my ears, hip-hop or reggae, I take my skateboard, and on the way it makes me feel good.
An event that convinced you to take part in changing things?
At one point, when I was working in a marketing company, I realized that I could do a lot more than what was given to me within the limits defined by the company. I wasn't having fun, I felt a little cramped in my status as an employee. I needed to create my own framework, and in fact that's what naturally led me to entrepreneurship.
What kind of student were you?
I was a student very quickly dissipated and distracted, unless the teacher managed to interest me. And not at all academic: I didn't like the frames at all.
If you could re-live your student days, what would you do differently?
I'd take the opportunity to start my company. At the time I didn't dare. Today it is easier to be an entrepreneur during one's studies, times have changed and also schools have adapted. So that's what I would do.
What is the course of study or action you took as a student that has served you the best?
To go abroad before joining BSB. I went to Sweden when I was in my Bachelor's degree, I met a lot of people, it was really great. It may sound banal to say that, but yes, travelling abroad and having international experiences opens up your mind and is ultimately very beneficial.
A meeting that inspired you during your career at BSB?
Christine Lagarde had come to give a lecture at the School, she was Secretary of State for Foreign Trade at the time. I said to myself, whaou! what a presence, she masters her subjects, she’s really good.
What's your next big ambition?
Just do what I do with Neety, let the business grow. We've just started marketing, I want to continue this adventure.
Why this choice of visual representing you?
For me it symbolizes the almost daily emotional lift associated with the launch of an adventure like Neety. In this kind of project, in a market that is almost non-existent, with an innovative product, one can go from a state of intense joy, the selection for a trade show like WebSummit, to a questioning of the whole product or of our business model in the same day. And it's at times like these that you need to keep a cool head, make the right decisions - or at least make some! - and above all remain optimistic and motivated, without losing sight of the "why" we're doing this.
Any advice or message to give to a BSB student?
Trust yourself, be curious and daring, get out of the frame!
More info on Neety:
· Website: neety.email
· Blog: blog.neety.email
· Facebook: facebook.com/Neetyapp
· Twitter: twitter.com/Neetyapp
· Instagram: instagram.com/neetyapp