Nathalie Gaveau is the founder of Shopcade and the General Manager of Lagardère Active Shopping. She was also the co-founder of PriceMinister that was sold to the Rakuten Group in 2010 for $250 million.
BACKGROUND Shopcade was founded in 2011 in the UK and currently operates in the UK, the US, France and India. Shopcade lets users browse the hottest trends in fashion and shop for the latest products at the same time, earning it the title “the Instagram of Shopping”. Available both online and as a mobile application, Shopcade serves as a blogspace and an e-commerce platform, and connects leading brands and e-commerce websites with readers of magazines such as ELLE. It was acquired by the Lagardère Group in February 2017.
What led you to become an entrepreneur? Nathalie Gaveau: I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. As a matter of fact, I had never even heard the word before coming to HEC. I do not come from a family of business owners. However, the prospect of managing and launching products appealed to me from a young age and I had already launched a newspaper when I was still at school. With a background in science, I could have become an engineer but I ended up studying commerce instead. I took preparatory classes in commercial studies and was accepted into the Entrepreneurs program at HEC. After finishing HEC, I went on to work for Lazard for their mergers and acquisitions division. At that time, we were working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them make important strategic decisions such as going public or selling the business. Working with SMEs gave me an insight into what it looks like to be an entrepreneur and I decided I wanted to be one myself. How has HEC contributed to your success? NG: I grew up in a family that worked in the military and I came to HEC with the values that are essential for entrepreneurship: I was disciplined, hard-working, responsible and team-oriented. I was never afraid to launch into new activities and adventures. At HEC, however, I got a major personality boost. The opportunities available to you at HEC are huge. I grew in self-confidence. A lot of my friends at HEC were also passionate about entreprenuership. I met my first business partner Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet at HEC. Together we founded the e-commerce website PriceMinister in 2000. The whole HEC ecosystem gives you the energy to push yourself. There was also a lot of goodwill. Everybody wants you to succeed. What is your contact with HEC alumni today? NG: My husband is an HEC alumni, as is my current business partner, Marie-Barbe Girard. I am a non-executive director in the HEC board of directors and a benefactor of the HEC Foundation. I also have a lot of friends who did HEC. I still feel very much part of the community.
“Launching a company isn’t easy. You’ll need to manage the business, the people, the press. Having a good team you can trust can go a long way.”What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs? NG: Everything is in the execution of the product. What’s going to matter at the end of the day is whether you have stable revenues for growth. Running a business takes a lot of your time and launching a company isn’t easy. You will need to manage the business, the people and the press. Having good team you can trust can go a long way. As an entrepreneur, you will have the freedom to choose whom you want to work with and the feeling when you get when you sign that business contract is just amazing. When you’re an entrepreneur, the sky is the limit.
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