Alumni Profile - Katherine and Philippe
Katherine Lachance Lavergne and Philippe Larose Cadieux are Co-Founders of Wittycloud, a provider of free stock marketing ideas. Based in Montreal, Canada, the SaaS platform enables its users to instantly receive marketing ideas according to their industry, goal, budget, and interests. Find out more about their career and SBM experiences here.
Can you tell us about your different roles and responsibilities within your business?
Our role is shared but collaborative. We both act as co-CEOs but focus on different areas according to our complementary skills. As resident DJ and co-director of London label company, Motek Music, and a digital artist, Philippe has developed great technological expertise that enables him to manage the technological and business development of Wittycloud. For my part, I take care of the company's administrative affairs as well as its promotion, having developed key knowledge in the field of marketing through my positions in various companies, including the London-based start-up, Rise Art, and the Canadian cooperative, Agropur, as well as skills as a business leader through my role as president within our former marketing agency.
How did your BSc Business Management degree help you when it came to setting up Wittycloud?
it enabled us to think differently, criticize society, how it works, and how we can change it to make it better. Moreover, we learned how to become business managers and entrepreneurs.
We were told in our first lecture that “at Queen Mary, we want to create the next generation of CEO’s”. The teachers were really aspirational and helped us get inspired to change our world.
Moreover, because the School is international, we worked with different people from different countries and learned different values and rules of society; the language as well as taking French, and Spanish. We learned how to think and how we can change society for the better and this provided us with a strong foundation and all the aspects of creating and nurturing a business such as Marketing, HR, and International Business.
What has the response to your new business been like?
The response to Wittycloud has been very positive. We answer to an urgent need. Few technological tools are currently available when it comes to creativity. A manual approach is still advocated where creative ideas are designed by agencies or freelancers; a long and expensive process that does not meet the need for agility of this sector evolving at a frantic pace with increasingly short delivery times. Wittycloud addresses this problem by offering an automated service of creative ideas available instantly and at a low cost; a need accentuated by the current Covid-19 crisis which requires companies to minimise their spending and quickly find creative solutions to address a market in full transformation.
What has been your greatest achievement with Wittycloud so far?
The actual model. Wittycloud revolutionizes marketing processes by offering a digital conceptualisation service that is instantaneous and accessible at all times. The platform is the digital evolution of traditional processes where agencies and freelancers offer marketing ideas in the form of consulting services; a long and time-limited process. In addition, this digital transformation allows exponential growth, as the platform can support thousands of requests simultaneously without human interaction. This technological innovation sets it apart even more from consulting services whose growth is limited by their human resources. The platform also sets itself apart from other established stock content platforms, such as Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Premium Beats, as none of them offer stock marketing ideas. Wittycloud is therefore the only platform offering this type of content.
What has been the biggest challenge with this business?
Through our previous business for which we met more than 200 clients, we harshly realised the lack of budget from small and midsize businesses (SMBs) for creative agency services. This financial obstacle has, however, led us to want to revolutionise the sector and create the actual platform in order to make marketing ideas accessible to all types of businesses and revolutionise current practices.
What would your advice be to someone wanting to start their own business?
Do something you love because if you don’t love it, you won’t enjoy it. We work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, and at least 60 hours a week each. As we are at the beginning, we have to put in the hours but you have to be passionate about what you do. When you find meaning with your work it helps.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary's School of Business and Management?
Because as opposed to other Business and Management Schools, the Queen Mary program offers a different and unique approach, focusing on the "why" instead of the "how", where we learn to think and revolutionise the status quo instead of simply learning how to do things as they are.
What did you enjoy most about studying at the School of Business and Management?
The international community, critical thinking - we have friends from everywhere: Italy, London, and France and we have kept in contact with them. To live in this city as a tourist and citizen you get to see everything.
What is your most memorable student experience?
It would have to be the first week when they organised drinks for the new students. We could talk in English but to talk to people with an English accent was very stressful. In the first two weeks, we would come home drained. But at this social, we realised it was everyone's reality and our fears soon disappeared as everyone was in a similar situation.
Where was your favourite place on campus?
Ground Coffee Shop. We would go there to meet our friends, eat and study. Because we could do everything there it was our favorite spot.
What are your interests and hobbies?
Sports - skiing in winter, and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. We also like music; Philippe is a music producer.
What are your hopes for the next five years?
We would like to scale the business worldwide. The creation of this platform is our way of contributing to the business community by providing businesses, whatever their size and budget, with creative, high-quality, royalty-free marketing ideas at a low cost. We aspire to accomplish our mission of empowering creativity by becoming the world’s leading marketing ideas provider.