Aude Guéneau’s reconversion, from classroom to start-up nation, Le Lab / Idées

Redevelopment is a difficult path. Aude Guéneau understood this. Especially since you have left the comforts of public service due to the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. Misunderstanding of relatives, leap into the void, lack of medium-term visibility … the first three years are risky.

Aude Guéneau quit her job as a French teacher at a Yvelines college in 2018. She had no commercial experience at the time. “My degree thesis was on Stéphane Mallarmé. We are far from the world of start-ups ”, jokes the 38-year-old entrepreneur.

His idea, however, draws on his 14 years of teaching. Annoyed at the level of writing of her students and overwhelmed by the diversity of their needs, she developed Plume, a software to give children the pleasure of writing. “Learning to write is underestimated, regrets Aude Guéneau. However, she has repercussions in all disciplines and throughout life. “

Eighteen months without income

Plume’s beginnings are Spartan. The entrepreneur refines the project in her spare time, in the evenings and on weekends. Aude Guéneau starts with a Facebook page where she presents her idea of ​​her and offers to send stories to complete. Thus probes the interest of the pupils’ parents. “I managed to collect 27 email addresses. It was really craftsmanship, “smiles the startuper.

The big leap comes when the teacher becomes available. A hell of a financial risk since it then ceases to be paid. However, as a civil servant, he is not entitled to unemployment. For a year and a half, the entrepreneur does not pay her salary. “Sometimes my credit card was blocked at the cashier. I almost gave up, “confesses this young mother of two, who will become her first users.

Worried, some relatives, friends or colleagues try to discourage her. “They told me I didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship,” she recalls. Aude Guéneau does not listen to the Cassandras. She soon realizes that her professional experience is an invaluable set of skills and ideas. “Education and entrepreneurship have a lot in common. They need to constantly renew themselves, to adapt to their goal, to look after themselves. In both areas I have taken hits, experienced traumatic things and situations of loneliness ”, analyzes the company manager.

Acceleration during lockdowns

Aude Guéneau’s other strength is her knowledge of the education market, the needs of students and teachers. Plume offers schoolchildren exercises in literary creativity, but also empty texts of classical works. As for teachers and parents, they have progress dashboards and benefit from advice for personalized follow-up.

The economic model is a mix of BtoB and BtoC, with a “phygital” version distributed in supermarkets. The first target is those of the parents. Currently 35,000 households are subscribed. The second target is that of school book publishers, including Nathan, who have a paid premium version, especially for organizing writing contests. For their part, teachers have access to a free version with limited functions. More often than not, these tools labeled “Digital Resources for Schools” are added to the class manual. About 15,000 teachers are enrolled through this indirect sales system.

For Aude Guéneau, team management was another unknown land, although he was a scout leader. “I am very humble in this business and I assume I am a beginner,” admits the entrepreneur. To train, he devours books on leadership and personal development. He also has online training in digital marketing.

Driven by subsequent confinements linked to the health crisis, Plume achieved a turnover of 250,000 euros in 2020. Now supported by the Wilco accelerator, the start-up expects to reach one million euros in 2023. To finance its development, in particular by developing an artificial intelligence tool, Aude Guéneau raised 2.7 million euros in May 2021. The entrepreneur also dreams of becoming international and in particular of the United States, fertile ground for edtechs … between two thrillers that she writes when she has some time left.

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