Sophie Normand, CTO of Zenintranet, is an INSEAD alumni and has been successfully running two businesses : Fewstones, a video agency (since 2011) and a SAAS platfrom Veeroll (since 2014). Using her experience from these two companies, she is now building her next SAAS product Zenintranet, a collaboration tool for startups and SME’s. Prior to her entrepreneurial journey, she spent more than 10 years in various R&D and Operations positions for large Telecom companies in Europe.
LadyBoss spoke to Sophie behind Zenintranet and her motivation as an entrepreneur.
We have around 150 companies registered on the platform .
Q: Tell us about your business, how long you’ve been doing it, and who your customers are?
A: We have two core businesses – video and software. Under Video we run our boutique video agency fewStones where we do corporate videos, TVC’s and other such projects. We have another service called Explain with video which is essentially an affordable video service for startups. On the software side, we have recently launched Zenintranet, a platform hosting collaboration tools for startup. It has everything small companies need to run their day to day business.
I joined INSEAD to do my MBA and decided to pursue entrepreneurship
Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship?
A: I spent 10 years working for an MNC in the telecommunication industry. I started as a hardware engineer, then moved to project management in operations. Post my corporate stint, I joined INSEAD to do my MBA and decided to pursue entrepreneurship.
Q: What’s the idea behind ZenIntra.net?
A: While running our agency business, we realized that our company needed many tools to run efficiently, but couldn’t afford them because of our limited resources: HR with leave management and claim system, CRM, task and project management. We would find a few cheap tools but that would mean we had to juggle between multiple accounts and platforms. These tools form the basis of everyday life for small companies and Zenintranet was born.
Q: Who is your target audience?
A: Entrepreneurs, small and medium companies who are currently using excel or a multitude of (expensive) tools to manage their team and businesses.
We rely on content marketing and influencer marketing to get our users.
Q: In terms of sales & marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?
A: We are going the organic route in terms of marketing. We rely on content marketing and influencer marketing to get our users.
Q: How many users/ customers do you have?
A: We have around 150 companies registered on the platform .
Q: What is your business model?
A: The platform is free to use and current features will be free forever. However, we will introduce paid features in the future.
Q: How many people are there on your team?
A: We have a team of 12 based out of Singapore & Philippines. We cover all aspects from development, testing, support and marketing.
We will have built a community of SMEs on Zenintranet.
Q: Where do you see the future of your business in 5 years? Ultimately what is your vision for ZenIntranet?
A: We will have built a community of SMEs on Zenintranet.
Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?
A: One of our biggest challenges is addressing the right needs for our customers. To find out what their real pain point, we need to be flexible, adapt our tools and strategy and constantly re-assess the mid and long term plans .
In a startup, you end up doing a lot of different things, and you always learn .
Q: As a seasoned entrepreneur, what motivates you personally?
A: Creating tools or services that are useful to others really motivate me. It’s important that I shape my job in a way that I can work on something I like, I am passionate about and also have some flexibility to take care of my kids. In big corporations, roles are usually not very flexible. In a startup, you end up doing a lot of different things, and you always learn .
Q: What would be your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
A: Be patient, be flexible. Trust yourselves and it’s possible to achieve work-life balance, all you need to do is get organized.