WeMaintain, a start-up that's gaining momentum
This article was originally published by Céline Tridon.
WeMaintain's ambition is to dust off the lift market and make a name for itself in the smart building market. The young start-up is run by three partners, including Jade Francine, who has been named a female tech figure to watch in 2021 by the Sista collective.
"It's a triple whammy: I'm in the tech, real estate and lift sectors. "The sound is playful, even laughing. Jade Francine, COO of the start-up WeMaintain, has founded a company in a very masculine universe, proving that the feminisation of start-ups is on the move.
With her two partners, Benoît Dupont and Tristan Foureur, she is tackling a huge global market worth 30 billion euros a year: lift maintenance. "This market is controlled by four historical giants and is still very much untouched by digital technology. There is little innovation, but there are major customer needs for smoother processes, responsiveness and transparency," explains Jade Francine.
WeMaintain initially proposed a platform that directly connects lift operators and building managers. A few months later, the company added data from sensors on board the lifts, which help narrow down maintenance requirements. Today, WeMaintain employs 70 people and keeps its turnover secret. But we have raised nearly nine million euros since our creation," says Jade Francine. We are thinking about the next round of financing... ".
And the start-up is not scared to get on top. In 2020, while Europe is torn between Brexit and the spread of Covid-19, WeMaintain is opening an office in London.
The managers chose to set up a local team, with around twenty employees to date. Why dare to cross the Channel? "It's a vertical city, with a real appetite for connected objects. What's more, we already have a few contacts there thanks to our customers," replies the COO.
While WeMaintain is planning to open other cities internationally, the pandemic has slowed down its plans somewhat. Instead, it is looking to diversify, as evidenced by its purchase earlier this year of Shokly, a provider of solutions for the maintenance of fire safety systems. This is another step towards becoming a player in the smart building industry. "The real estate market is at a real turning point, where the search for remote control and therefore connected systems is becoming increasingly important," says Jade Francine.
She has been selected by the Sista collective as one of the entrepreneurs to watch in 2021. Is this a source of pride for her? "Of course, this kind of initiative is important. I myself would like to be able to recruit more women, as only about 34% of our teams are women. However, the real challenge is to promote diversity with people of all backgrounds and ages. "For her, it is important to show new faces: "It is a broad subject of representation of society, which goes far beyond the representation of women in tech," concludes the director.