The structure of the U.S. telecommunications industry – both here in Los Angeles and across the country – has changed dramatically over recent decades. Major changes over the past several decades have included the breakup of the Bell System, especially the 1984 divestiture, the 1995 creation of Lucent Technologies, and the advent of long-haul competitors such as MCI and Sprint; the transformation of cable system operators into telecommunications providers as they adopted the hybrid fiber/coaxial cable digital architecture, which supports digital, high-capacity, two-way communications; the development and mainstream adoption of the Internet, including the rise of a whole new class of industry players (e.g., Cisco, Microsoft, Google, and so on); and the creation and growth of a competitive wireless services market resulting in broad penetration of cellular voice and data services.
In France, one of the leaders in telecommunications is L’Agence Telecom, which was the first company in the country to have offered Telecom and Internet solutions in BTOB to small and medium-sized enterprises in an industrial way. Since it’s creation by CEO and Founder Thibaut Foulquier, the company has not only won countless awards (recently the award for the most efficient commercial strategy among all SFR distributors), but has partnered with other global companies, one recently being Fortinet.
In addition, Thibaut is the executive director of SFR Business Team and a member of a jury that selects and approves SFR new partners globally. It is his job to audit various candidates that comply with SFR requirements, while evaluating the strategy and the team’s abilities, along with their financial situations.
The Los Angeles Tribune spoke with Thibaut directly and exclusively about his love of what he does and how the ever-changing technology climate here in Los Angeles, where he now calls home, is helping to ignite further partnerships and changes within his industry, and what advice he’d give others here in LA about going into a career like his.
What initially sparked your interest in business?
I always liked to do things by myself. The idea of creating my own company to be independent and choose what I wanted to do has always been important to me
What initially sparked your interest in technology?
The 1990s were the internet and mobile boom. At the start, the new INTERNET / MOBILE / TELEPHONE interests me more than technology. Then, I became interested in technology by resuming my studies to do a MASTER in TELECOM (2005-2006) Technology brings users new horizons, in all fields, in all markets, for all companies.
What do you like about your job/career?
In my work, I like to find new value markets like TELECOM or CYBER SECURITY. I like to create the whole organization, the processes, the strategy. I like recruiting teams and finding the best managers to do what I imagine on paper. I also really like to convince financiers to follow me to realize my projects
What are the challenges of your profession and how do you overcome them?
The speed of change. In our profession, technology evolves very quickly and you have to be at the cutting edge of technology to always have the best products for sale to companies. You always have to have the best technological offer before everyone else! and to always have the best products you have to have the financial means to produce them.
Today, what would you consider the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career would be that the companies I founded exist in the most countries in the world. Technology has no borders so we can adapt our companies, our technology and our business strategy on all continents.
What advice would you give to those looking to pursue a career in business and technology?
Always seize the opportunities that arise. To be successful in business, you also need to know how to make mistakes to learn. I also think that it is necessary to write and think about the global strategy with a first objective: Sell your project, your ambitions to investors (banks, private, business angels, …). In technology, everything goes very fast so you have to have the means to achieve your ambitions so you have to succeed in convincing the financiers
What are your plans for the future?
My next objective is external growth for the TELECOM AGENCY and 4CONNECT. To accelerate our double-digit growth each year, I decided to do external growth. I have targeted companies that are very complementary and that we are going to buy. They will allow us to have additional skills to implement our strategy. We’re going to double the group’s turnover