ZenWeShare : devoted to customer intelligence

Mouse movements, scrolling, navigating a touch surface, using a physical or virtual keyboard, connected devices, and more. The way you interact with a website says a lot about you. ZenWeShare combines thousands of parameters (3,500, to be precise!) to help businesses gain valuable customer insights.

This is what’s known as machine learning,” explained Kevin Becker, co-founder of ZenWeShare. “In order to “create” our algorithm, we developed our own survey platforms to help us understand user preferences and personalities, and combined the information collected with the interaction data recorded on our customers’ platforms. We also made good use of feedback received from major partners. All of this boosted our programme’s efficiency within a short space of time, and allowed it to develop by integrating millions of different profiles.

As a result, the algorithm developed by ZenWeShare is capable of deducing a large number of indicators designed to enhance our knowledge of users and, ultimately, customers. For example, how do we decide which is the best channel of approach? Is it better to call people on the phone, send them an email or text message, or offer to meet up with them in person? Which issues are they most interested in? Are they more swayed by the innovative aspect of a product or service, the extent to which it is community-focused, or its environmental impact?

Aiming for wider customer intelligence

Brief recap. It all began back in 2013, when Benoit Allibe, the historic founder of ZenWeShare, created a secure digital passport enabling users of collaborative consumption websites such as Airbnb and BlaBlaCar to post their evaluations under a single user profile. Kevin joined the adventure in early 2014, at a time when the team was looking to promote the data it had collected, particularly among insurance companies.

Through their discussions with the latter, they realised that the customer insights they provided were of good quality but too narrow, because the number of French people registered on collaborative platforms was insufficient.  Insurance companies prefer to know a little bit about everybody rather than a lot about a small number of people. “We had to have a serious rethink,” Kevin told us. “After several months of reflection, we developed this expert analysis of the way visitors interact with a website, in order to establish certain trends.

“A team that lives with and for its startups”

These discussions about customer intelligence were conducted mainly with Axa, and in late 2014 ZenWeShare integrated its Smart Data for Customer Intelligence programme, launched in partnership with Paris&Co. A year later, the startup then embarked on its pivot and spent three months, from November 2015 to January 2016, in Lisbon, as part of an acceleration programme offered by Deloitte.  This was a period of rapid change, during which the team focused its efforts on developing a solution (which is now offered to insurance companies and banks, as well as e-business websites, marketing institutes and the media) and preparing the pitch. And in May 2017 they arrived at the Plateau, thanks to one of their investors, who put them in touch with the team.

It happened at a time when we really needed to focus on ourselves and our work in a healthy, professional working environment, and that’s what we sensed immediately when we first visited #LePlateau,” Kevin recalled. “We found the working environment we were looking for, as well as a team that exceeded all our expectations: people who offer day-to-day support, right at the heart of startups, who live with and for startups and really challenge them to interact. All support programmes claim to provide that level of involvement, but it’s rare that they actually do what they say.

Gaining insights into our customers, building up the best possible relationship with them... These are obviously the ambitions that motivate us day after day. Flore Jachimowicz, Head of Le Plateau and Partnerships

By joining #LePlateau, ZenWeShare also hoped to develop ties with Societe Generale’s business units. That promise was also kept, because they were put in contact with Societe Generale’s Insurance and Retail Banking entities. “Gaining insights into our customers, building up the best possible relationship with them... These are obviously the ambitions that motivate us day after day. The solution developed by ZenWeShare offered exciting prospects,” confirmed Flore Jachimowicz. “That’s why we put them in touch with several business units which we thought might be interested in working with them, and the feedback so far is very positive!” The Director of the Plateau and partnerships hopes that initial trials will be ready to begin in early 2018.

What advice would you give a startup which is looking to pivot?

You have to be really careful about money. A startup which has a clear path mapped out can forecast its future via a business plan, it has initial metrics and can easily raise funds, etc. All of that becomes much more complicated when you’re pivoting.  It takes at least one year to fine-tune your business definition, develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and test it with your first customers and partners. If you don’t have enough money in reserve, you run the risk of having to enlist the help of an investment fund halfway through the process, and the fund will either reject your request - in which case you’ll have to close down your business - or impose unfavourable conditions on you, because they know you have no choice.

ZenWeShare key dates

  • March 2013: Creation of ZenWeShare.
  • November 2013: ZenWeShare wins the 101 Projects competition run by Xavier Niel, Marc Simoncini and Jacques-Antoine Granjon.
  • First quarter 2014: Launch of the secure online passport, which is still used today in partnership with the MAIF insurance company.
  • End of 2014: ZenWeShare joins the Smart Data for Customer Intelligence programme run by Axa and Paris&Co, and starts discussions on customer intelligence.
  • End of 2015: ZenWeShare begins its pivot phase.
  • November 2015 to January 2016: The startup spends three months in Lisbon as part of the Deloitte Digital Disruptors acceleration programme.
  • April 2016: First fund raising success: €250k from a corporate investment fund.
  • A second fund raising operation is scheduled for early 2018.

Published on 10/01/2018