TonisTechBlog’s interview with Scarlet Motors’ CEO Julien Fourgeaud!
In part of the new section on TonisTechBlog, we are interviewing interesting persons in Finnish technology are. This time we get the chance to interview with former New Product Wizard at Rovio, and now CEO of the Electric car manufacturer Scarlet Motors, Julien Fourgeaud. Julien ran his management consulting company for mobile strategy, LeCatalyst. His company helped corporates like Vodafone, Nokia and startups to leverage their product innovation cycle. Julien was also spokesperson for the Symbian Foundation, responsible to communicate the future of the Symbian platform at various international events. Read the full interview after the break.
TonisTechBlog -So who are you and can you tell me about your history little bit.
Julien: -I am a Digital Native, raised in the French Alps, keen on technology, but pushing the boundaries in sports and life in general. I studied Computer Sciences, Electronics and Networks in Paris before finishing my Master of Science at Tampere University of Technology.
TonisTechBlog -Where does the name Scarlet Motors come from?
Julien: -Scarlet is the color of passion. It is also the color of blood and fire.
Joona Kallio, the man behind the brand, and my partner, wanted to bring out our determination and commitment in the brand.
TonisTechBlog -How big is Scarlet Motors now and what are your expansion plans?
Julien: -We have 2 people full time and a bunch of people part time.
We’re also engaging over 50 members of our 1,200 people community.
The goal is to keep the team lean and agile.
We are looking forward to get more people full time and expand, but we’re not interested in growing too fast. Let’s walk before running.
TonisTechBlog -How do you feel working in Finland and starting a business so different from your last job at Rovio?
Julien: -Working in Finland has been really interesting. I spent time at university as a PhD Researcher, employed at Nokia, Rovio and full time entrepreneur with Scarlet.
The work culture in Finland is quite different from what I have experienced in France, Switzerland or the UK. Companies have also their role in defining the culture itself.
Nokia was a mature company with a lot of emphasis on its employees.
Rovio is a fast growing business, with the challenges that are linked to this specific phase they are in.
What I noticed is that it is really important to define a company culture as early as possible and make sure you hire people who fit that culture.
TonisTechBlog -What distinguishes Scarlet Motors from other electric car manufacturers, such as Fisker and Tesla?
First of all, these companies are creating the “electric vehicle” market. We believe the market will be big enough for us to participate in its expansion without really “competing” with Tesla and Fiskers.
There are still couple of differentiators:
- We focus on the European Market and its needs, vs US for Fiskers and Tesla
- We believe in User Experience and are working hard to redefine what the driving experience should be for today’s consumers. That means taking the best from the legacy while ditching what is “historic” and not necessarily useful for consumers. Who needs a steering wheel in a car?
- We also want to involve the consumers in the process and share the story. We believe in openness.
TonisTechBlog -What does it mean to you that you are able to work with talented people around you?
Julien: -I love learning. I can learn on my own and have done that since I have had access to the internet (1996). But I also love learning from people and with people. Nowadays, I am looking for people that are smarter than me in their domain. People who can drive the business further and teach me something.
Being able to build a team from scratch, creating our own culture and giving room for these people to shape the team is really exciting.
TonisTechBlog -Last, bit not least, You’ve stayed in Finland for a while now, what made you stay here?
Julien: -There are always different factors. At some point it was the studies, then personal reasons, and of course my career.
Finland is one of the few places in Europe where there are still a lot of opportunities to make things differently and create new things.
I’ve also enjoyed the nature, which brings me a bit closer to my own place back in the Alps.
And as geek, I’ve definitely been served when it comes to innovation and adoption of new technologies
You can follow Julien in twitter @JulienFourgeaud
Thank you very much for giving us this interview and good luck for you and Scarlet Motors.
Toni Aaltonen, Editor-in-Chief of TonisTechBlog