Pierre-François Thaler has been helping increase sustainability throughout our business ecosystem. He has built a sizable venture of his own in the process.
During our exclusive interview on the Dealmakers podcast, he shared how he got into entrepreneurship, what he learned from his early adventures in business, and his unique approaches to structuring them. Plus, how to manage company culture in the new environment we are living and working in, and some of the differences in launching a startup in Europe versus the US.
Born in France
Pierre-Francois Thaler was born in France and has spent time traveling and living in Asia and New York as well. Today, he is back in France, working on his latest startup.
At school, Pierre found he was good at math. That made him a good engineer. Something he feels he was born to do. Though he has applied that mostly to sales, marketing and entrepreneurship.
At INSEAD he studied electronics engineering and found a great meeting of project management and engineering. It was there that he met the cofounders for his first startup.
The Best Way To Learn Entrepreneurship: Just Do It
It is wise to consult others who have already been there and know the moves to make and avoid. Though there is no classroom that will really prepare you for what it is like to be a founder. There is a lot you will only learn by jumping in. You’ll learn a lot faster too.
Thaler’s first venture was B2Build, an online marketplace for building materials. They quickly raised $15M in capital. They sprinted to opening in five countries in 30 days out of the gate. They had to close down within 24 months.
Despite that pain, he still counts it as one of his great learning experiences.
One challenge was the timing. It was right as the dot com bust was happening. He also learned that just because you have five or six founders, from a great school and with great pedigree, doesn’t mean they will be strong entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur takes a special kind of person.
They also had licensed technology from others and didn’t have their own control of that. They moved fast, which is great, but perhaps a little too fast.
Once An Entrepreneur, Always An Entrepreneur
Next Pierre worked on building an innovative platform for another company. That is now Ariba.
Then in 2007, a new opportunity emerged for him to go at it as an entrepreneur again. This time with EcoVadis.
Despite working in an exciting company doing good things, he just didn’t feel he was living his purpose and up to the responsibility he had.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them