Sophia : Respublica helped by Liberty Surf
The free access supplier of Arnault’s group takes a major participation in the start-up and announces new growths in synergy with Nomade.
Christophe Dupont and Christian Conti’s firm called Respublica is developping more and more each day. The start-up, settled in Sophia Antipolis and created at the CICA (international center of advanced communication) in July 1998 had already become, within one year, the first French-speaking platform of exchanges and meetings on the web. Since the launching of its second version on September 14th 1999, it has attracted 20,000 adherents. Today, the firm counts 70,000 adherents (200,000 pages a day seen), and, thanks to the major participation taken by Liberty Surf, Respublica is able to reach the European market. A rapid alliance between two web start-ups announced by a press release dated Friday, October 29th 1999.A consistent group strategyRespublica’s chief executive officer : Christophe Dupont, who is also the creator of Echo’s research engine has gone very fast. To finance new expansions, he was first looking for venture-capital. But, in addition with capital, he also wanted to have strategic points. This is the reason why he moved closer towards Liberty Surf, which is a free access supplier to the web (Liberty Surf is held by Bernard Arnault’s and Kingfisher’s groups). « This moving closer will allow us to boost our development, especially in Europe », Christophe Dupont explains.The total amount of Liberty Surf participation was not announced. People only know that it is a major participation. Liberty Surf had already showed itself in July 1999 when it bought the first French-speaking research engine : Nomade. More recently, Liberty Surf bought AXS Télécom, a telecommunication operator. With Respublica, it is from now on present in four distinct fields linked with the web economy, fields which are nevertheless very complementary : an access supplier, a telecommunication operator, a gate and all the virtual communities.When Christophe Dupont explains his strategy he speaks of synergies. « Liberty Surf has authority to become the leader in Europe, he declared in the Journal du Net (Web Newspaper). We have a consistent group strategy on the Web : an access supplier, a research guide and Respublica, whose aim is to establish web surfers’ loyalty.A development on the siteFor Sophia-Antipolis, this new big alliance can be the occasion to reinforce the teams on the site. Thus, Respublica which counts about fifteen people continues to recruit in order to reach more than twenty people. The firm is already confined in its office, at the CICA. Respublica will keep an office at the CICA but nearly it is going to settle more largely in a villa near the technopole.The firm opened in Paris a communication and marketing office, moreover, it acquired the abilities of one of its last recruit, a professional man well-known in the web : Thierry Fossaert, ex-Marcopoly, who holds the post of communication manager. During next weeks, some synergies will grow with the firms belonging to the group, especially with Nomade (common services will be set up). However, none synergy is forecast with Aucland (web auction), another purchase from Sophia Antipolis of Europe@web, Bernard Arnault’s investment fund, a man who really conspicuously enters the technopole.