The first fund started in 1999 is now positive with a number of great exits this year:
- his first investment, Calendra, was sold to BMC software earlier this year
- his second investment, Musiwave, was sold to Openwave the other day (for a 10 to 12x, depending on the earnout)
- Virtools was sold to Dassault Systèmes earlier this summer.
His other portfolio companies include for example Wstore that shows 90 million euros in the top line, and Eric says there might be very good news coming out shortly; others also include B-process, an e-billing company dealing with over 2 millions invoices per month (recent contracts include 17m invoices at Carrefour/year, 8m invoices at American Express / Havas voyages per year, etc.).
I asked him what his best memories were at one of his companies, and he chose to talk about Musiwave. Clearly, he said, the best thing was working 1:1 with the entrepreneur, Gilles Babinet (labeled here as a great guy who knows how to listen, who has a great vision and who executes). For many years, they were just the 2 of them at the Board, and instead of 'having tea' they dealt with issues and pushed them through. The worst memories he said, were the others: his own people, the market, other investors. Indeed the company was launched just after the bubble 1.0 burst, and the company was not making money. They redid the business plan many many times.
I asked him also why should entrepreneurs work with him: well, he says he's been in the software industry for over 12 years, including stints at Business Objects, Natsystems, usw. His difference as a VC ? He sees through paperware strategies, and he definitively knows how to talk to the chief executive of a company: straight talk.
I guess Gilles will not disagree, and although I'm told they had many tough discussions, they've become great friends.