At the age of 13, Brice Ohayon vowed to become an entrepreneur. Today, as head of the Webpopulation group, he is revolutionizing technical support for the digital transformation of companies. Freshly installed in the Lighthouse offices at the Vivea Business Park, he tells us about his journey and the choice of his installation in Mauritius. Meeting with a company director whose ambition and desire for excellence do not betray his humanist values.
Hello Brice, can you tell us about the path that led you to create Webpopulation?
I started with a business school at the EBS before turning to law at the University of Paris Descartes. I was then obliged for family and financial reasons to set up my own business. Originally, I wanted to be a seasonal worker. Indeed, I am a big fan of board sports like snowboarding, motocross or windsurfing.
In 1999, I was offered a job in a web agency. It was a revelation for me: in three months, the company grew from 2 to 15 employees. After signing a big contract with Chez Clément restaurants, I decided to make my big dream come true and went to the United States on a whim. That’s when I created Webpopulation. A year and a half later, my visa expired and I had no choice but to return to France. I then took up odd jobs to gather a capital of 7500 euros and created Webpopulation again. 17 years later, Webpopulation has a consolidated turnover of 13 million. It is established in Paris, the United States, Great Britain and Mauritius, where we have been moving up a gear since January.
What does Webpopulation actually offer?
We offer a range of services and benefits related to the digitalization of the company. We are editors of a technical solution for omnichannel e-commerce. In concrete terms, this means that we enable companies to sell on the Internet by managing the relationship with their customers in real time in their physical or digital networks.
For example, we support TATI in the thousands of orders it receives and enable the dispatch of several million parcels per year. In addition, we manage all the company’s behavioural data, which allows us to redirect direct marketing or communication actions to enable TATI to increase customer value over time.
Today, you bet on Mauritius to develop your business, can you explain us your choice?
Six years ago, I was in Mauritius when I was told to outsource my development. I recognized myself in the values of Mauritians who are family oriented and respectful of the companies in which they work. However, my wish was not to simply outsource my development but to have a real physical structure on site. Today, Mauritius is a strategic element of our development because the island is about to become the first integrator of our solution: the WSHOP.
We operate on a SaaS model, or software as a service. Our customer has no technical action to take: he pays an operating license and has access to a set of features that evolve over time. Whether it’s a small structure like Cacharel or a large distributor like TATI, all our customers have access to the same modules. The front office is completely customizable.
The role of our Mauritian office is to implement these front offices. We are recruiting developers!
Can you tell us more about the profiles you are looking for?
Webpopulation is in a recruitment phase and is currently looking for 10 to 30 employees. We are looking for front-end developers who want to be an integral part of software development, looking for an atypical company that offers real career paths.
For me, it is essential that my employees get up in the morning motivated by the fulfilment of their mission and not only by the salary they will receive. That’s why I’m willing to accept new recruits who are in tune with my values and willing to learn. Webpopulation’s objective is to participate in the digital development of the island and to make Mauritius a platform of technical excellence
Any tips for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Be persistent if you want to start your business. A project doesn’t fall from the sky. We must give ourselves the means to succeed. When I created Webpopulation, many people told me I was going to fail, starting with my own family! I believed in my project and today I am the first employee of my collaborators.
The second and perhaps most important point is passion. In life, we work from 20 to 60 years. An entrepreneur had better love the work he does. In my opinion, a company should not be motivated solely by money. The important thing is to be happy and proud of what you create. This is my case today with Webpopulation: I am moved to see the synergy of my teams with such different profiles but united around an exceptional project.