Criteo shows entrepreneurs how itâ€™s done
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
Criteo is a story that should not happen. Itâ€™s an ad-tech company that started in Paris, competes with industry giants such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, and yet has kept winning at the game and growing every year. When it got started, the company had to pivot several times and ended up executing on a different idea than the one it raised money on.
A few years ago, Criteo raised a big round of money from international VCs, and its management team moved from Paris to Silicon Valley to build up the companyâ€™s American and international business. For most outside observers, this was the prelude to the inevitable acquisition by Google or Yahoo.
But then Criteo did something strange. Not only did the management move back to Paris, but itÂ rented an office block, turning it into the kind of luxurious headquarters that Silicon Valley companies have, and announced that it would also be the site of an R&D lab to work on future products and services for the company.
Criteo proves that itâ€™s not just the Zuckerbergs of this world who can build a big, sustainable, independent company. Criteo today is worth around $2 billion, or 2% of what Facebook was worth on its own IPO day. But $2 billion is a lot of money, and please raise your hand if youâ€™ve helped create that much amount of market cap over your lifetime (I certainly havenâ€™t, though Iâ€™m still holding on to the dream).