Atempo Asks America to Say Oui

French data-management company invades the US... Champagne or French Toast?

March 6, 2004

3 Min Read
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Will U.S. businesses trust a French company for data security?

Atempo Inc. is about to find out. Later this month, the Paris-based backup software vendor will establish full-scale operations in Palo Alto, Calif., as part of its plan to beef up North American sales. That effort actually began last October when a team of U.S. executives joined the company to hire staff and form a sales strategy. Now the 20-person American team is poised to find out if a French import can sell as a backup and restore solution.

Referring to a putative backlash against the F country, Atempo CEO Thierry Flajoliet insists, We’ve not seen any of that. What we’ve seen is people asking us, ‘How do you solve our problem?’ Besides, we’re an American company now.”

VP of North American sales Marianne Nole says she remembers seeing “French Toast” crossed out on a menu and replaced with “American Toast” before joining Atempo. And we all remember Freedom Fries. Still, Nole says she has received no negative reaction during her five months with Atempo.

“Nothing’s going to be easy,” Nole says of competing with the likes of Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) and Legato Software. “We’re just getting our legs now. But I see the pain points out there in companies’ networks. It’s a case of getting customers to talk about the pain.”Flajoliet says his 160-person company was profitable in 2003, but in the U.S. “it’s a well-kept secret. In Europe, we win against Veritas and other big companies.” Atempo claims 1,750 customers and $24 million in 2003 revenues. Its Time Navigator product is used in Europe by France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE), Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Renault, Novartis, and Credit Agricole. The company has some U.S. presence, with about 40 customers and a reseller agreement with Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI) (see SGI Resells Atempo Software). It should also help that its product’s name sure sounds American. [Ed. note: Return with us now to the thrilling adventures of Ti-i-i-i-ime Navigator!]

Herve Goguely, previous CEO of French-based VOIP vendor NetCentrex SA and part of Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) worldwide sales organization, is president and COO of Atempo Americas. Nole and Randy Batterson, direct of strategic alliances and OEMs, joined Atempo from BakBone Software Inc. (Toronto: BKB). Flajoliet says he will split time between France and the U.S. as he plans to double staff in North America every year. “I like to grow a business aggressively. When I see an opportunity, I go for it."

Atempo, known as Quadratec Software until 2001, has raised $42 million in funding (see VC Spigot Still Flowing). Flajoliet says he doesn’t think it will need more funding unless an opportunity to acquire another company comes along.

“The window for IPO is reopening, but that’s not the plan currently. Maybe we need to create a bigger company,” he says.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch0

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