“My parents used to take me to the Opera House when I was a kid. I was fascinated by it”
Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a senior technology sector leader. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Gregory Blondeau, CEO of Proxyclick, a Belgian startup that provides visitor management system for large enterprise companies including L’Oréal, Vodafone, and Airbnb.
Gregory – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
The biggest challenge for our customers is striking a balance between providing a seamless visitor experience, while maintaining optimal premise security and visitor privacy. The latter is top of mind because companies have come under greater pressure due to regulations like GDPR and CCPA.
Shockingly, many companies we talk to are still using logbooks at the entrance of their buildings and corporate premises.
That’s simply not acceptable because it leaves a permanent record that others can see. And even the companies that have gone digital in some way keep data on file too long. We built automatic data delete into Proxyclick to ensure visitor privacy. Bottom line is security is important but not at the expense of personal privacy.
Technology that Excites You Most?
I am excited about any technology that saves people time and ideally has a positive impact on the environment. I hate driving for hours with no other activity than holding a steering wheel. I hate those long check-in queues at the airport or anywhere else. I’m not a big fan of shopping in stores. I think I just hate queuing in general.
I love the thought of technology like self-driving cars and eventually, a world where no one will own a car anymore. We will just order a driverless car with our smartphone.
I’m also excited about online ordering and home delivery. I am even more excited about automated shopping or replenishment.
I want to contribute to helping people save valuable time with Proxyclick. We want people to save time when checking in at offices or production sites around the world while at the same time increasing company security.
That being said, I worry about the surveillance economy. I worry about protecting people’s data. The biggest challenge and responsibility for tech companies today is to protect people’s privacy. I was pleased to hear Microsoft’s CEO talking about data dignity and saying that “data privacy is a human right.”
Not giving up when people said the market wasn’t ready for our visitor management offering. Being a successful tech entrepreneur is being wrong for a long time, until you are not anymore.
Replacing the paper logbook with a tablet used to be a “nice-to-have.” Digitizing your visitor process is now a “must have” for organizations that want to be compliant, increase physical security and protect data privacy.
Just like many others in 2000 — right before the dotcom bubble burst — I quit my London-based job to join a new startup.
I left Siemens, moved back to Brussels, and worked days and nights for a few months on a project that never took off. The market then collapsed and forced us to stop.
I remember reading Red Herring magazine every month; I was excited about the new economy and impressed by the amount of money thrown at it.
I learned that raising money and business success are two different things. If a market is not ready for your product — no matter how good it is, no matter how much sales and marketing dollar you spend — it will not work.
When I started Proxyclick I was determined to bootstrap it; to listen to users and to develop features based on their feedback. Having limited means makes you clever, it forces you to think hard before making a decision. Having been through this helps me every day at Proxyclick.
In Another Life, I’d Be…
An opera conductor. I just love classical music, especially opera. My parents used to take me to the Opera House when I was a kid. I was fascinated by it. I am looking forward to my new life in New York where I’ll be able to go to the Met or Carnegie Hall on a regular basis.
I took my 4-year old to his first concert recently. He loved it. Maybe he’ll be the one to live that life!