Emmanuel Arnaud is, along with Charles-Edouard Girard, the founding CEO of HomeExchange, a network for home-exchanging that was recently selected in the Next40 program as one of of France's 40 most promising startups with potential to become tech leaders on a global scale. Emmanuel is also President of French Tech Boston.
Please meet Emmanuel Arnaud !
In just a few words, can you tell us more about what your company HomeExchange does efficiently and well ?
We are the world’s largest home exchange community, offering over 450,000 homes within our database. We enable travelers to take unique vacations by creating a platform for home exchanges across the globe. Our members can stay at each other’s homes to enjoy a truly local experience while avoiding the costs of staying at a hotel or renting.
How did the story of HomeExchange start in Boston ?
HomeExchange set roots down in Boston in September 2017 in an effort to grow our US presence and capitalize on the thriving tech startup economy Boston provides.
There are so many tech hubs in the US, why did you choose Boston ?
3 reasons :
- It is an easy flight to our HQ in Paris from Boston
- It has the world’s best pool of talent thanks to Harvard, MIT and all the other amazing colleges in the area, and
- It’s a cheaper location than NYC while offering a better quality of life. In addition, Boston has a thriving French tech community and serves as an ideal base for our growing French company.
The venture capital firms have helped turn Boston into a booming tech hub; can you confirm if it was a driver when you decided to link the history of HomeExchange with Boston?
Yes, definitely. Our concern was that it might be too centered on Biotech, but it turns out that’s not the case.
Tell us about support from the French institutions: FACCNE, French Consulate, French tech ? Any recommendations ?
We are the proud recipients of the 2018 “Company of the Year Award” from FACCNE, and are honored to be members of this great group. As the President of Frenchtech, I often work hand in hand with the Consulate which is doing an amazing job making sure French companies in the area thrive.
Did you receive any grants, subsidies or tax deduction to support your business? If you did, please summarize the process shortly.
In France, we have received a number of grants and subsidies like the CIR. None in the US.
Boston is a global business center what benefits do you see for your company ? Does it help attract talents, market your brand?
Boston certainly attracts top talent due to its high volume of top universities specializing in tech. The city’s sense of community and spirit aligns with our values and fosters a unique and genuine connection to our brand.
What do you find challenging doing Business in Boston/ in the US ?
Consumers tend to be more familiar with HomeExchange abroad, so the challenge has been to educate US consumers on who we are and what we do, while communicating our core values of trust and authenticity.
"Our core values of trust and authenticity"
How fast have things moved for your business since you arrived ?
We have been very pleased with the growth of the business, especially since we acquired a Canadian competitor a few months after opening our Cambridge office, which has helped us gain a stronger foothold in North America.
What would you have liked to know before arriving or at your arrival that you missed?
How difficult it would be to do B2C PR compared to France.
What do you love with Boston/ US market ?
The opportunities in the US are endless and the competition fuels us to constantly be better and grow more. The US offers an abundance of travel destinations and beautiful homes, so we feel confident the HomeExchange market will grow and thrive here. It’s also great that Boston is close to Montreal, since the Canadian market and the Québec one in particular are important for us.
"The opportunities in the US are endless"
HomeExchange has been recently nominated for the Next40 (congratulations!), can you tell us more about it ?
The Next40 program is a selection of France's 40 most promising startups with potential to become tech leaders on a global scale. It’s fantastic to know that the government supports our growth efforts and we are honored to be a part of this impressive group.
Do you have any recommendations for French entrepreneur and for starting a business in Boston?
Check out frenchtechboston.com :)
Thank you very much Emmanuel, we wish you a successful end of year!
Are you a member of La French Tech Boston and would like to share your story? We'd love to hear from you and feature you on our website, and in our next newsletter!