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KEDGE : 2 alumni from the business school win contracts with several press groups!

When two childhood friends, both graduates of KEDGE Business School, decide to join forces and share their experience as part of a start-up, the result is bound to make its mark. As illustrated by Gabriel and Maxime, who have launched Poool.


In 2014, Gabriel Grandidier (PGE 2016) and Maxime Moné (KEDGE Bachelor 2010) left their respective jobs in order to found the start-up Poool, which became official in April 2016. Two months later, they were joined by Alexandre Santini and Ugo Stéphant, engineers with technical expertise.

Poool was set up to address a simple problem: the online press currently blocks some or all of its content in order to encourage visitors to take out a subscription.

"This is the case, for example, of the Sud-Ouest newspaper website as well as most other press websites (Le Monde, Le Figaro, L'équipe, etc.)," says Maxime.

When readers come up against articles reserved for subscribers, they have two options: to take out a subscription or leave. This is what we call a paywall. A method that is seen today as cold and impersonal. The problem is that more than 99% of readers leave at this stage. We've all done it. The result: a shortfall for the media in terms of monetization and engagement, and a sense of frustration for the readers. To address this issue, we have created the first dynamic paywall for the online press based on the level of reader engagement. Based on the reader's profile, we will personalise the paywall as part of a dynamic approach in order to engage the reader and gradually monetise the content reserved for subscribers. The reader can still choose to access content, while the publisher maximises revenue per user. The idea is to make high-quality information available to everybody, for a fair level of remuneration.


"Before this, we lacked technical expertise. We had to go out and meet the publishers, our future customers, to understand the issues they faced and their objectives," explains Maxime, who had spent three years working for Feed Manager (a webmarketing agency managed by another KEDGE graduate). "We suffered a number of setbacks at the start but that helped us to build a solution that truly reflected market needs. Today, we're in contact with more than 70% of groups in France and even some in other countries."

And their idea is working. Since its founding, Poool has picked up a number of prizes (winner of the Prix Pépite award in 2016, winner of the Réseau Entreprendre Aquitaine award and winner of the French Tech grant). This enabled it to collect €60,000 , to hire two people and to welcome its first major customer: the newspaper Sud-Ouest. Other large press groups are also negotiating with the team.

"The pace of development has been accelerated by Théophraste (Sud-Ouest group's start-up lab). The support provided by all the staff at Sud-Ouest and particularly the digital manager, Guillaume Vasse, helped us to better understand the objectives of a press group and to upgrade our product based on their feedback," explains Maxime.

If you ask them what they got out of their studies at KEDGE BS, both alumni reply: "KEDGE brought us the support of a strong network. This is maybe the most important point when setting up a company. More than the network or skills, this school taught us to adapt and to quickly find solutions to key issues. It's like an educational "swiss army knife".

Their favourite quote: "An entrepreneur is somebody who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down" Reid Hoffman (Founder of Linkedin + Paypal). So for all Kedgers who want to be entrepreneurs: don't be afraid to jump off the cliff!


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