Davy Tessier, CEO of Furious, was interviewed by La Réclame for their “Parole d’Entrepreneur” section.
After founding and leading the agency Disko for nearly 10 years, Davy Tessier and Mickael Lellouche are now at the helm of Furious, an online management tool offering agencies, startups, and consulting firms a complete solution for mastering their operations and optimizing profitability.
For this Parole d’entrepreneur, we gave the floor to Davy Tessier, co-founder of Furious. He shared insights into his 100% remote company and how this “control tower” can simplify the life of your agency – and yours by extension.
Furious in a Few Sentences, what is it?
Davy Tessier : It’s an online agency management tool. Furious manages all workflows and everything related to agency management – from prospecting to quotes, through commercial closing, pre-sales organization, project management, Gantt charts, ticket management tools, planning, invoicing, purchasing, accounting closures, human resources, interviews, etc. It’s an extremely comprehensive tool with many features. The advantage of having all this in one place is that we gain intelligence from all this data. It allows us to be predictive and save time.
The disadvantage for us is that each of these features must be at market level, or better. Our challenge in recent years was not just to create something that saves time, but something that saves time compared to market standards – like Pipedrive and Hubspot. Except these are tools that only show a part of the activity. For example, Pipedrive is great for managing pre-sales. But managing and knowing the time spent on all the pre-sales of the client as well as the time spent on project wins with them compared to overall profitability, is impossible to calculate with single-feature tools.
Does Furious have a specificity compared to the market ?
D.T.: As Furious is a generalist tool in a niche sector, it allows us to have a way of thinking very adapted to this market. ERPs will specialize in many sectors (e.g., Septeo for legal professions), but we specialize in the business of selling “man-time“, time against money, and package sales.
All of this is something we developed in our previous life at Disko. We had very significant growth for 10 years (+40% per year), with offices all over the place, and we were always profitable. Why? Because we had mastered our workflows and managed with more than just the accountant’s reporting that always comes after the battle. When you have 20, or even 30% turnover compared to 40% growth, it means that you have renewed more than half of your company in a year. And if, in addition, you renew a part of your clients and acquire new ones, it’s very hard to model in your head if you’re not predictive. You need something very adapted to your talent pool, relative to the stock of ongoing projects, but also relative to the pre-sales you are bidding on with the probability of winning, etc.
When you put all these parameters into the equation, it leads to something that is very difficult to do, and even more so to recalculate every month – hence why we developed this flow management approach, which was the philosophical embryo of Furious.
What lead you to create Furious ?
D.T.: When we sold Disko, I started doing something else: real estate, lots of projects, and I even launched a boat alarm startup! Then one day, former colleagues came to me and said, “You developed something cool with Disko, now that we’re no longer competitors, could you help us too with internal tools?”. And that, with an interesting goal, since it was before Covid. For example, the bosses said, “Ok, I’m a big agency in Lyon, I want to spend 2 days a week in the mountains, but how can I manage teams without being there every day?”. When you have multiple agencies in different countries, you can’t be everywhere. That’s how we made our first prototype. When I presented it to this colleague, he came with two or three other agency bosses, and it was launched. Quickly, others joined us – as it’s a small circle and everyone knows each other – clients came spontaneously to us.
Why the name Furious ?
D.T.: I also created Furious because I realized that in many other sectors where I had poked my nose, everything was very slow – real estate and startups, for example. Quickly, we had to return to something that has stakes, that’s why we called it Furious. Initially, this tool was mainly created to help business owners, to methodologically explain things to them. In 2-3 years, the tools have been greatly enriched with artificial intelligence.
Furious, it’s for velocity. We are betting on being able to accompany our clients in their “furious growth”.
Are agencies already well equipped with such solutions ?
D.T.: We have two main types of agency profiles, first the small ones with less than 15 employees. Generally, they have many different tools, but they do not perceive the flows between them – and they often manage with the boss at the center of gravity (who sees everything and does everything).
When an agency exceeds 50-70 people, none of them have many tools. They will have tools, but generally, they are 20 years old – and very finance-oriented.
That’s where the big difference with Furious lies: we come from operations. The tools were first thought to improve the daily life of people, project managers, dir cli, and then to provide financial reporting.
There is a last category: agencies that have nothing, and delegate everything to their accounting firm. They expect someone who does not know the sector to be able to make advisory recommendations…
What is the role of support in your offer, beyond the tool?
D.T.: Support is systematically included. It is quite short, given that clients can quickly get into the tool. But it is also included because the tool is very vast and modular. We have assistance on topics related to training, with the restitution of best practices – in which Furious will restore elements and deploy methodological training. The goal is to make clients aware of certain elements so that they themselves implement modifications. Afterward, all these suggestions will depend on the nature and size of the company and who we are dealing with.
What types of teams do you have ?
D.T.: We have three main poles:
- Discover, the upstream pole, which will check the adequacy between what we have, the market, and what we hear. We discover the clients’ problems, they discover the tool. This is our marketing/communication pole.
- Success, whose job is to guarantee the success of the migration.
- Product, which takes care of the product and its improvements.
The average age at our company must be around 38 years, with seniors who have done at least 10 years of agency career.
Isn't it every digital agency leader's dream to pivot to SaaS (Software as a Service)?
D.T.: It’s a great dream! It’s even more of a dream because at the beginning of the month, we know the revenue we are going to make. Any extra effort creates new clients. It’s much more reassuring – I spent 15 years securing end-of-month cut-offs praying for it to work out.
Then, we have put a lot of people in our company in project mode – 50% of the product team works on client feedback. When a client tells us something during the day, the improvement can be made for them the next day. This is a real gap compared to the world of software.
50% of the staff is on short reaction time, the other part is focused on “long” reactions – that is, we are going to do things that we weren’t asked for, to help the client.
Are You Full Remote, or Do You Have Physical Offices?
D.T.: We have two offices, one in Montpellier and one in Paris. But the company is designed for 100% remote work – all meetings are done online, for example. We also all use Furious.
How Do You View the Agency Market Currently? And in 3 Years?
D.T.: Last year, we saw strong growth in our clients – not necessarily digital agencies, by the way. We also saw an increase in profitability. 2021 and 2022 have been excellent years in cash and acquisition. They have been more difficult from an HR point of view, and they are starting to tighten from a commercial point of view.
There was a crisis (Covid) that the agencies absorbed, and they had trouble managing the HR part – not everyone was ready to go back to work full-on. Recruiting became complicated. That’s what we’ve discerned in recent months: issues around commercial steering, production, and human resources.
What we are starting to see abroad are concerns about tight cost management and payroll relative to profit. Especially if clients were to reduce their budget. We feel a tightening at the end of this year from a commercial point of view, even though it is still too early to say.
In the short term, we think there will be adjustment effects, especially if there are still macroeconomic problems. A year ago, it was unthinkable to imagine Ukraine and the energy crisis related to gas and oil. We were talking about Covid, and it was already huge!
We don’t know what will happen in the coming months, but given the tension at the commercial level, marketing services may be impacted. However, we are on a strong growth trend because the demand for intelligence is constantly increasing in all markets. We think the intellectual service market has a bright future ahead of it. Knowing that we are on fundamental trends: agency management modes will migrate, and Furious tools will accompany this. There will be more independence in contracts, fewer permanent contracts, more freelancers, and interactions between them and the rest of the workforce.
This mixed work is a topic that I have noticed a lot in tech startups, we see it coming and spreading to the rest of the world. We foresee a gradual migration towards hybrid teams. Both in the nature of the contract and its duration.
We want to be a European alternative to Anglo-Saxon tools, there are beautiful ways of seeing organization in Europe. That’s what we’re trying to be, on our modest scale – hoping that our scale will only grow.