Flore LAURENT, KEDGE graduate, appointed Director of...
To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE?
Before I started attending KEDGE in 2016, I got an economics and sciences secondary school diploma in economics and sciences and took prep classes in Paris. I started off doing a year in KEDGE’s Grande Ecole Programme on the Bordeaux campus, during which I discovered the city, the region, its beaches, and its quality of life. And I loved it! In 2017, I moved to Marseille to take KEDGE’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Master's programme. So I was lucky enough to get to know both campuses, both cities, and both atmospheres. I would say that being able to attend school in the middle of the Parc National des Calanques is pretty good!
Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?
My career path is a bit uncommon. I started to mull over my entrepreneurial project while still in prep school. Obviously, it had to go through several stages before it took shape and became what it is today. I knew that it would be in the sports betting business. There was an incredible opportunity in terms of the market. Very early on, I discovered the pleasure of creating, of going out and finding and soliciting customers yourself, and offering a service that the market is looking for. Once I started at KEDGE, I was able to take different courses on entrepreneurship. I also took advantage of the support of several teachers to help my project grow and adapt as needed. I spent my gap year as a student-entrepreneur in England. I was able to meet various players in the market over there, which is much more developed than it is in France. I met lawyers and entrepreneurs with whom I could exchange ideas, get their opinions and advice, etc. Once I was back in Marseille (for the final year of my Master), I was really able to get fully involved in my business. I met a lawyer who guided us very well in setting up the business in terms of legal requirements, and off we went!
Tell us about your business, which was incubated at the KEDGE Business Nursery.
There are currently three million gamblers in France, more than 90% of whom have been losing for a long time. But the majority of aren’t aware of it, and they often use many different websites. In fact, there are 16 different bookies authorised by the National Gaming Authority (ANJ) in France, which makes it difficult to follow your bets at one versus your bets on another. The only possible way to keep track is to have a comprehensive balance sheet, which you maintain yourself, on Excel or websites. These require entering the information manually. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and is prone to one making mistakes (more or less unintended ones). House of Bets automates the bettors' balance sheets. More precisely, we establish secure connections with the various bookmakers and retrieve the betting history of those registered with us. We then present a complete, detailed, reliable, and accurate balance sheet to our clients without any effort on their part. They can quickly see whether they are winning or losing money, discover their strong and weak points, which sports they should stop betting on, etc. This is crucial in order to improve and take control of one’s bets!
What are your development objectives?
Our first objective is to become the go-to company for sports betting in France - become known as a key tool by gamblers and used regularly. We also want to expand in Europe. The betting market is booming and legislation is moving in the right direction. The UK, with its betting culture, is a paradise for a company such as ours! You can bet on just about anything over there, including the name of the next child of the royal family. Even the date of the end of the world! Other countries are headed the same way and there are great opportunities to be had in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Obviously, we’ll need the means to achieve our goals. Once our momentum in France is reached, (foreseen for June 2021) we are going to look for financing.
How did the education you received at KEDGE Business School help you become who you are today, and what was it about its teachings helped you develop your project?
KEDGE helped me pass an important psychological milestone. I was pushed by my teachers to develop my idea, to apply for the Business Nursery, and to talk about it. Undeniably, I needed this advice to really get started. The school was also important in terms of skills-building. The different subjects gave me a solid foundation to be able to pick it up quickly and fully in many areas. It's essential to have cross-disciplinary knowledge in order to manage the challenges face daily.
How did the Business Nursery help you in the development of your project and making it a success?
The Business Nursery offers workshops and partnerships, and is a very important presence at the side of entrepreneurs. The different workshops are very informative. The speakers are experienced and instructive, and the practical simulations employed immediately put us in real-life scenarios. Thankfully, the Business Nursery has adapted very well to the Covid-19 crisis by being digitised very quickly. I find it indispensable today, especially knowing that we are somewhat more nomadic in this day and age. The challenge was handled brilliantly. Bravo! The incubator has also been able to establish excellent partnerships, which continues to increase. It also has services and software at extremely reasonable rates. I can tell you that when you start a project, cost-saving features and availability often make the difference. I have the impression that an ecosystem is created, which can only be a positive thing.
If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be?
Talk to others and be curious. You have to discuss your project and be proud of it. Answer questions and ask them. It’s the only way to turn ideas into reality and improve them.