The positive group (ex Sarbacane) changes size

Newspaper of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Between a name change, record fundraising and a new acquisition (Marketing 1by1), 2022 has been eventful. First of all, why did you change your identity?

Mathieu Tarnus. We have been operating for 21 years, but only a few years ago we became a group. Our strategy is to grow don’t build
(external growth), keep our brands in their core businesses and anchor them in their territories. Sarbacane One of the leaders in email marketing in France, RapidMailOne of Germany’s leading email marketing companies and Date pineapple, is a leader in sales prospecting automation. The identity change was intended to give more air to these brands with an umbrella brand that was neutral so as not to imply that one of the brands was crushing the other.

The 110 million euro fundraiser has caused a stir in the digital world. What is the purpose of this round table?

The operation was completed in September. This is not a fundraiser in the startup sense, but a fundraiser for an established, profitable company with an external growth strategy. Generally, when you are profitable and plan to have funding needs for external growth, unlike startups that burn through cash very quickly, you don’t need cash immediately. We know how to finance our internal projects, but we want to buy companies, and these acquisitions in our universe are very expensive. We have surrounded ourselves with EMZ Partners, a large fund that manages 3 billion in assets, which put a very big ticket in Sarbacane and believes in us. This fundraising confirms our ambition and the strategy we have set before us for 3 years. The goal is to increase from 26 million euros in circulation this year to 100 million euros in 4 years.

Is the group growing strongly?

We achieve an average growth of 30% per year. In 2021, we achieved 50% growth with the acquisition of RapidMail, which made us grow faster than in previous years. Every company grows, so the workforce receives 10-15% per year. There are 170 people at group level, including 100 employees at Sarbacane. If we reach our ambitions by 2026, we should reach more than 500 employees. Today, I have more desire to create a large group than to sell to a large group.

You follow the foreign growth policy, what acquisitions has the group had in recent years?

We acquired Datananas in 2020, a self-automation specialist aimed at simplifying and automating sales prospecting for sellers. In 2021 we acquired RapidMail in Germany (85% of business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Recently, we continued our acquisitions with Marketing 1by1, a Lille company that was a former partner on certain clients. We are very complementary because they specialize in data placement and structuring. They identify all data sources of companies, mainly large retail and e-commerce accounts with very heterogeneous data sources. And we are here to enable email campaigns.

Sarbacane is the main and historical asset of the group. Born in 2001, how has it adapted to the evolution of digital marketing?

Sarbacane has 25,000 customers in Europe, including 8,000 in France. They are distributed as follows: 50% in BtoB, 50% in BtoC. We have very nice, well-known companies, but we don’t have to represent our client portfolio, because we mainly have SMEs from all sectors of activity, but also local authorities and municipalities (200 in France). New version of Mailify the rise of the sun It came out in 2018 and exploded. With Sarbacane, customers can send email and sms campaigns and set up a chat tool to interact with customers. In total, we estimate our volume at 4 billion emails and 400 million text messages sent annually.

Groupe Positive estimates its volume at 4 billion emails and 400 million text messages sent annually.
What is your international strategy?

The positive group focuses on Europe, a very attractive market that has been little attacked by American players. The American market is saturated. Today we have teams in Ham (historic headquarters), Paris, Barcelona, ​​and also in Freiburg and Berlin, Germany after the RapidMail takeover. We can envision future ventures across Europe in the long term. But it is not only the geographical location, we also want to diversify the activity. We currently do not have tools dedicated to social networks. Ultimately, we’d like to attack social media messaging, have a publishing tool, publish messages across all social networks in a unified, simple, and automated way. We want to make positive group the main digital marketing platform.

They say that CSR is synonymous with growth. You understood this long ago in Sarbacan.

We did not wait for the topic to become fashionable to implement the CSR policy. We have been concerned about the welfare of employees for many years. In our 2000 m² and 4 hectares area, all conditions have been created for the comfort of employees. We have an outdoor tennis court, a gym where courses are offered, a lounge for relaxation, as well as a company nursery to make life easier for parent employees. Our policy also envisages the opening of capital to employees. We were also sensitive to the male-female balance, today there are 45% women in the group. Regarding our carbon footprint, we have done a very detailed study to estimate our carbon footprint. Research shows that we consume too little. When all activities are combined, our footprint is very small.

Positive Group has 170 employees across the group, including 100 at Sarbacane.
How do you see the future of email?

Bright! I am more confident about the future of email today than I was 10 years ago. The emergence of social networks has been presented as a follow-up to e-mail, but this has never been the case, it has always been complementary. Email will always have its own legitimacy: it is the equivalent of a postal address, but digital. It is a standard and universal protocol that will never be replaced by anything else. Despite declining click-through rates and open rates (20% today compared to 70% 20 years ago), email is still one of the best performing channels in terms of ROI, far ahead of social media. This is good years ahead of us.

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