First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Thomas Darde: Thank you for this first question. Everyone is fine today, but one of my uncles has been in intensive care for 2 weeks. That was a tough moment and a reminder that this pandemic is not only “seen on TV.” Keep safe.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sigilium.
Thomas Darde: After studying Computer Science, I wanted to keep programming on a daily basis and also be in contact with clients. I felt that the best way to reach this goal was to create a company. I first created Rouge Cardinal, dedicated to helping clients with innovation. And then Sigilium with Xavier Trannoy as a SAAS company to allow for better internal innovation! Sigilium aims to reclaim a very good Marketing Space that each company already owns: The Email Signature.
How does Sigilium innovate?
Thomas Darde: I think in many cases, innovation is more the result of a series of subtle decisions than of a “big moment.” We take extreme care to keep our product easy to use and efficient. We focus on the goal: to help companies use email signatures as a powerful channel. Help them deliver communications to valuable contacts, generate qualified traffic, and leads. Our clients are seeing very good results even during a pandemic.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Thomas Darde: Each day, we realize how fortunate we are. In France, many people had to close their businesses (restaurants, cinemas, and small stores). Some big companies have been delaying their process in implementing our solution, but others have chosen to amplify their digital marketing communications.
At the team level, we already had some experience with remote work, and we intend to be careful not to get bored in the long run.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Thomas Darde: As discussed earlier, it would be hard to say we are in a difficult position than others. At the same time, we try to stay cautious about keeping a healthy lifestyle. Having the office at home is sometimes a big inclination to never stop working. Thankfully the family is here to make us pause!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Thomas Darde: We are in a competitive landscape, but not in a winner takes all business! This was a decision from the start. We see competition as a healthy motivation. Looking at some big brands trying to kill the competition instead of stimulating it is sad and shows that it’s not a long-term strategy.
The email software landscape is an always evolving landscape. We try to wisely balance the time spent between maintenance and innovation. Maintenance is sometimes surprisingly hard; for example, it has taken a lot of energy to handle macOS BigSur and Mail. Creating an Apple Silicon prototype was much easier.
Staying in the game means for Sigilium to help companies – with various technical environments and systems – integrate dynamic email signatures in their workflow. At the messaging service level, but also on CRM and support platforms.
We also help companies to be more efficient and change their habits by trying new features, like using a direct meeting button to help contacts schedule a demo or integrate reviews on their signature.
Your final thoughts?
Thomas Darde: We see this pandemic as a hard reminder of the choice of priorities in our societies, this is more a personal reflection, but it’s a good way to keep in mind that Status Quo is not an option. We are thinking of some evolution of our business model around this idea.
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