We caught up with Scaleway's Chief Revenue Officer, Liam Boogar during B2B Rocks 2023 in Paris to hear about his journey from bus driver to tech enthusiast, picking up his insights into the ever-evolving tech landscape along the way.
From Bus Driver to Blogger: A Unique Career Path
Liam's journey into the tech world is nothing short of fascinating. Starting in LA as a bus driver to pay for college tuition, he ventured into the world of startups after moving to France and starting a blog about the local startup scene. His journey began in 2011, and as he recalls, "I started a blog as a creative outlet," choosing the thematic colors of orange and black as the blog started in the spooky month of October. Little did he know that his creative outlet - Rude Baguette - would later become France's leading startup blog. As the blog quickly gained traction, he began exploring ways to better monetize the opportunity.
The Impact of Events (and English) on the Tech Ecosystem
From his community of readers, Liam noticed a demand for connections between startups, VCs, and founders. Readers would write to him to be put in touch with relevant parties that Liam had connections with or wrote about. Out of respect for the ethos of maintaining an editorial independence, Liam did not want to facilitate direct connections. Nevertheless, this was the window of opportunity he needed: to bridge this gap, Liam started organizing events as opportunities for networking among readers and in this way, giving them the opportunity to arrange meetings amongst themselves during the events. They soon discovered that one of the best filters for competitive startups was the fact that they had to participate in English. Naturally, any startup or participants interested in an international audience were willing to participate in English events.
The Rise of SaaS: What You Need to Know
During the conversation, Liam sheds light on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, explaining its fundamental principles. He emphasizes the importance of high gross margins in venture capital and how SaaS businesses excel in this regard. SaaS companies leverage predictability and recurring revenue streams, making them appealing to both investors and entrepreneurs. Understanding the SaaS playbook involves finding a niche, excelling in it, and delivering what customers are willing to pay for, all while ensuring they're delighted with the product. Liam's years of experience in the venture capital and SaaS space becomes apparent in how he details the perspective investors have in this domain. He shares insights for founders of SaaS startups to understand how to better capture investor interest.
From Marketing to Revenue Strategy: The Transition at Scaleway
Liam's career evolved from marketing into the role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Scaleway. He shares his perspective on marketing's role in revenue generation. Marketing, brand-building in particular, plays a vital role in driving organic demand generation, leading to lower customer acquisition costs for companies with strong brands. At Scaleway, this understanding allows the team to predictably forecast revenue and strategically plan product development.
Facilitating Great Conversations: Event Organizers Take Note
Liam's experience in organizing events highlight the value of facilitating meaningful conversations within the tech community. He emphasizes that events with a clear editorial focus, designed to foster engaging discussions, are the events that result in more lasting impacts. These conversations create valuable connections and contribute to the growth of the tech ecosystem, making them a crucial element of the industry.
This conversation with Liam provides a glimpse into the dynamic and ever-evolving world of tech startups, the power of events, and the strategic insights needed to thrive in the SaaS landscape.
Liam's journey from bus driver to tech influencer and CRO at Scaleway serves as a testament to the exciting opportunities that await those who embrace the tech scene with both passion and creativity.
Speaking of events, Liam will be at Station F in Paris on November 17th for Scaleway's first ai-Pulse event; a one-day technical conference dedicated to AI innovation, research & implementation 😉