CAC40 vs GAFA

Are the major American (GAFA) or Chinese (BATX) high tech players so far away…? What is happening while our companies are understandably committed to sticking to their budgets, achieving their revenue or EBITDA targets?

The GAFAs or BATX are slowly but surely nibbling on our old continent.

#Travel :
Airbnb has shaken up the entire hospitality industry, including the iconic Accor, which however is not at a loss for words yet.

#Education :
Apple and Samsung are currently supplying our schools with their pads, which will soon become the cornerstone of tomorrow’s education in France and Europe. Sqool (French player) is trying to differentiate on its own, without any support from the government or the industry key players.

#Leisure activities:
Vivendi, who launched the first video subscription 13 years ago, “watched” Netflix or Amazon Prime spread all over the world.

#Car industry:
Should we be afraid of new comers such as Tesla, who for the time being do not hold a significant market share vs. Peugeot or Renault?

#Banking:
Our own banks such as Crédit Agricole, BNP, HSBC or BNP keep fighting each other while Apple launches its Apple Card (Keynote March 2019) and Revolut wins several thousand new customers every day.

These are just a few examples, but the threat is real: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple are also challenged by Xiaomi, Tencent, WeChat, Alibaba, Baidu, those Chinese actors who, after having conquered Asia, are now targeting the rest of the world.

Having said that, our French companies are far from lacking assets… but these also weigh…

European and French businesses combine 4 golden assets, which could also be liabilities: These assets may also become … liabilities:

  1. High visibility brands, but which may lack emotion
  2. A very in-demand customer portfolio, but with data that still needs to be identified and processed.
  3. Expert teams, still unable to challenge their own modus operandi
  4. Money, a huge investment capacity, sometimes under-exploited

Switch to breakthrough innovation mode

To conquer new territories, new markets, new ways of consuming, it is almost impossible to still apply the recipes that have worked for 40 years. A break is essential.

Here are 4 rules to follow (in our opinion):

  1. Be self-sufficient: agree to launch new businesses in a total new environment and thus differentiate from the parent company activities, with entrepreneur actors who know better than stick to the rules, with a different time-space, and be pro-active to do in 2 days what others do in 6 months.
  2. Accept the unknown: One does not become innovative overnight. It involves and required a long process with a change of mentality, DNA too. However, empowering entrepreneurs with a goal and trusting that they will achieve it will increase the creative energy. One never knows what to expect with such adventures, but one thing is sure: Only the right entrepreneurs will take you to the top of the mountain!
  3. Have a natural selection logic: failure is a normal step on the road to success. Launch several initiatives, with limited resources: Terminate those that are not satisfactory after 12 to 18 months and, on the contrary, invest massively in those taking off.
  4. Teaming up: One’s never prepared enough for these new adventures and it is essential to pool skills and partner with people who are dynamic entrepreneurs, who can undertake, bypass, discover, but also rely on their expertise to move forward faster.