INfluencia: you choose to join the simplified public tender offer of Ardian and Cathay Capital. Why ?
Vincent Luciani : we wanted to get out of the stock market, my partner Guillaume de Roquemaurel and me. We had been preparing this for two years. We were looking for funds to support the growth of our business. And we are very happy to have found them. We are joining forces with this offer, Guillaume, 60 Artefact managers and me, by reinvesting heavily alongside Ardian.
IN: why did you decide to exit the stock market?
VL : the stock market is good, but the opportunities presented by investment funds are even more interesting. This allows us to align the interests of investors with those of management. It also gives us a long term perspective, unlike the stock market, which focuses on the short term, with quarterly performance publications. Investment funds operate in cycles ranging from 4 to 7 years on average. This perspective brings the serenity we need to operate the strong expansion that we want to implement. Ardian is a world leader precisely in phase with this logic of international expansion which meets our ambition.
IN: you already have a global network. What do you mean by accelerating your geographic expansion?
VL : our network is in fact already very diverse: we are present in 15 countries on five continents. The international sector already responds for more than half of our turnover. We will realize 550 recruitments in 2022. Our ambition is to triple in size by 2025. The goal for us is not necessarily to open new offices, but to strengthen our presence in each market, notably through external growth. The United States, where we opened an office a year ago, is a priority for us. To gain market share internationally, we will first focus on business acquisitions operating on what represents the heart of our activity, the data driven marketing. We will look for companies that have the DNA that matches us and that meet our requirements.
IN: your group is already a benchmark in data services, even beyond your historical data marketing business. Can you re-specify the current perimeter of Artefact in this large data market and which one you want to strive for?
VL : the data market is in fact huge: it weighs 200 billion dollars [voir ici notamment les prévisions d’IDC, NDLR.]. Our turnover is just under 100 million euros. We are a pure player champion of consulting and technological support with a historical scope: the data driven marketing. At the same time, we have put in place other offers that we want to develop in the coming years. We support companies in their transformationdata driven – to choose the right big data and IT infrastructures, have good governance around data, strengthen their skills, etc. We deploy data factories with our customers for their acceleration and the resolution of their business problems (in particular we have very large projects underway at the moment at Orange, Carrefour and L’Oréal). Finally, we are increasingly deploying packaged solutions to solve very specific problems using data.
IN: you want Artefact to become the world’s leading group in data services. How far are you ? Who are your competitors ?
VL : our only competitors pure players internationally are BCG GAMMA and Palantir. We can also cite Accenture, but which is not a pure player. Then, in each country, we will have local competitors. In France, we can cite Ekimetrics. But to my knowledge, to date, there is no company of a size similar to ours that is able to support its clients internationally as we do. Our clients are large international companies. We want to create a French champion of services around data. I find this to make enormous sense in this context of quest for ethics and respect for consumers and the environment. An actor who knows how to use data in a modern, efficient and ethical way.
IN: For you, being French changes the game in terms of ethics?
VL : absoutely ! The fact of being a global company of French origin represents enormous advantages. Think of the European GDPR: the whole world is trying to follow its model. French mathematicians are very strongly recognized all over the world. We are building a culture of the best way to do the data that we present to the world. The only thing we don’t have is the infrastructure: our bias is to work with our customers’ technologies. We are completely agnostics.
IN: in 2017 you had with your associates piloted the merger of your then “start-up” Artefact with the Netbooster group. Today, what is your assessment of this merger?
VL : The results are very positive. The group has doubled in size since 2017, our revenues have grown from 40 million to 80 million euros in 2021. We have succeeded in building an offer of data driven marketing end-to-end among the best on the market and we have developed very strongly internationally.
IN: still concerning this merger, has the current management managed to combine these two cultures?
VL : I do not consider that there should be one culture but multiple cultures. At Artefact we reason by communities that we call chapters, with reference to the Spotify model. People with the same skills and cultures form a chapter. Each chapter has a very high degree of autonomy, just like every country. The knowledge and know-how of Artefact are the sum of these communities. It is a key success factor.
IN: to hear you everything seems so simple. What is the main challenge now?
VL : the main stake of our market is the talent shortage. There are a lot more projects than projects that we are able to do because of this shortage. This is why we have created a very large training program. Our ambition is to build the new generation of data leaders. We created in Paris the School of Data, which aims to train between 100 and 200 new employees per year for us and for the market. This school also aims to train people for our clients to enable them to better understand the issues surrounding data and not to be afraid of technological breakthroughs. We plan to train 800 professionals for our clients this year.