20 Mar Founder Talk with Stephane Marceau
Stephane Marceau sat down with FounderFuel (on his twenty year marriage anniversary, no less!) to chat with the teams about his and OMsignal’s journey.
Stephane is Co-Founder and CEO of OMsignal, the world’s leading smart clothing platform, built on bio-sensing apparel that connects seamlessly with mobile devices. Coming from strategy consulting, Stephane believes he got into the startup game “way too late.” He was looking for more elbow room to create, but hesitated over the lack of predictability. His keen interest in wearables won out, especially when he was confronted with the frustrating experience of a sick friend receiving four different diagnoses from four seperate doctors. Stephane and the remaining OMsignal founders – Frederic Chanay, CPO and Stephane Menard, CSO – realized the emerging importance of smart clothing.
Stephane touched upon OMsignal’s constant R&D whilst simultaneously building out core product. At the same time as they’re pushing out V1, they’re working on V2 and V3. OMsignal is always focused on staying at the forefront of their market. Hence OMlabs: an innovation team separate from their core.
In building their company, the founders wanted to create and own their narrative from the beginning. They occupied the PR space early on by writing for publications such as VentureBeat. Three key things fell out of doing this: they reached an additional level of company clarity, they began receiving invitations to speak at large conferences and they sparked, for the reader, further interest in their product. The latter was big due to the visceral nature of clothing; just hearing about a shirt isn’t enough to get the full experience of the piece.
From writing extensive pieces about their mission came OMsignal’s three core values: clarity, speed (“a continuous sense of urgency”) and intensity (regardless of the importance of a work/life balance you “make it work”). In looking for individuals who fit their company values, they have to go with their gut feeling: does this person seem to have an almost naive sense of inspiration? Are they looking to create a meaningful impact? Do they want to be a part of building something bigger than themselves? If a person is naturally attracted to the mission – finding you, rather than the other way around – they’re more likely to be a successful member of your team.
Stephane closes by telling the teams that failure is the worst case scenario – yet, value lies in failure as well as in success. The skills that you acquire just going through the entrepreneurial process is “the new Harvard MBA.” In working on a startup, you’re “immersed in a profound experience,” finding less distance between coworkers due to a lack of process and politics, being constantly confronted with yourself and always seeking self development. “If the goal in life is to become who you are,” Stephane says, “then you should seek, for both your personal life and for your company, true authenticity.”
Thanks to Stephane Marceau for stopping by!
Next week Mohannad El-Barachi from SweetIQ will be visiting us. Stay tuned!