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Young Leader, CEO of 1000Mercis discusses recent trip alongside French President François Hollande to Silicon Valley, experience as an entrepreneur in France
March 6, 2014
Yseulys Costes, a 2007 Young Leader of the French-American Foundation, is Chief Executive Officer and founder of 1000mercis Group.
Yseulys Costes is a graduate of the "Magistère de Sciences de Gestion" and has a Masters in Marketing and Strategy from the University of Paris IX Dauphine. She discovered the internet in 1995 while studying for an MBA at the Robert O. Anderson School, USA. As a researcher in interactive marketing, she is a guest lecturer at Harvard University and teaches Interactive Marketing at several prestigious institutions such as HEC, ESSEC and University Paris-Dauphine. Yseulys is the author of numerous books and articles on online marketing and databases and also spent two years as the coordinator for the IAB France before founding 1000mercis in February 2000.
Yseulys Costes is a board member of Kering and Vivendi.
Yseulys, you recently joined a delegation of prominent entrepreneurs, political figures, and businesspeople who met with counterparts in San Francisco / Silicon Valley following the state visit of President Hollande. You met with several groups, including French entrepreneurs who have established themselves in Silicon Valley, as well as several American Young Leaders who have found success in the technology sector. What the purpose of these meetings?
Silicon Valley is at the very center of innovation for many businesses and especially for 1000mercis. These meetings with our American friends were the perfect moment to share each other’s vision on growth, technology and innovation. 1000mercis, listed on Euronext Paris, have recently opened a subsidiary in New York; therefore it is also a great moment to boost our development in the US, both in New York and in San Francisco.
In 2000, you founded 1000Mercis, which has become in the past 14 years a major entreprise in the area of interactive publicity and marketing. Today, 1000Mercis has offices in Paris, Lyon, London, and New York. What is the most import idea or practice that leads to success in the modern business environment?
I don’t believe there is a unique model of success. But to me there are 3 important ideas that drive modern business: innovation, capacity of adaptation and speed. To achieve these goals, investment capacities are obviously very important also.
There are a number of critics who say that France has trouble promoting innovation and generally lacks an entrepreneurial spirit. Given your experience as a French entrepreneur, how would you reply to this assertion?
I have the chance to lead a company on a very young and innovative industry. With 1000mercis, we pioneered the Interactive Adverting and Marketing in France and invested a lot in innovation. Entrepreneurship and innovation include risk taking and failure. And in France, we do not have a failure and risk taking culture. But I do believe that French culture is changing through diversity. In this regard, have you seen changes in the political approach and policy in recent years? To have a more risk taking culture as we see in the US can be one of the key to success in France.
What role does the digital economy play in the recovery of the French economy, which continues to struggle alongside many of its European counterparts following the recent debt crisis?
The Digital economy is still a young industry, and we still have a lot to invent. At 1000mercis, we try to help advertisers to develop their business with marketing strategies that are more efficient and profitable for advertisers and consumers. Digital economy has a huge impact on job creation, and the quality of our studies in engineering and mathematics in France is a great opportunity to develop this industry.
You participated in the Foundation’s Young Leaders program in 2007 and 2008. How was this experience? What have been the advantages of being linked to this French-American network in your professional and/or personal life?
That was an amazing experience. I have met incredible people throughout the Young Leaders network, and it helped us a lot when we launched our New York subsidiary. Young Leaders has been incredibly supportive and a real accelerator of growth!