Sep 13, 2022
How To Be A Complete CPO With François De Bodinat, CPO At Younited
Cofounder @ Jimo
Hi François, your background is quite extensive, can you tell me how this has shaped you as a CPO?
My journey to CPO has been one that has come full circle.
Finding my passion. Aged 23, I moved to the Silicon Valley, working as a 3D software engineer for Dassault Systèmes in the aerospace and shipbuilding industries. These years as a product and project manager sealed my love for technology and innovation.
Learning the business side. I switched to pre-sales at Dassault Systèmes and expanded my horizons to Asia for a few years. Then, I pursued an MBA, and right after, I moved to a 3D automotive scale-up to lead their French and Switzerland office, consolidating my sales experience.
Making the leap to entrepreneurship. I co-founded Givted, a gift-giving, crowdfunding platform. We raised money, launched in USA, and crashed after 3 years, but this was an incredible learning experience on the challenges of product launches in competitive markets.
Marketing your product. After the startup, I joined Amazon, leading their advertising business marketing for agencies in Europe, which re-enforced the importance of the culture of customer centricity.
Back to product. As CPO/CMO of ZeroLight, a UK based 3D automotive scale-up, I spent a few years productising the predominately service-based company, which cemented my passion for product management.
From here, I made the leap to CPO at Younited (more about this later!).
Connecting the dots. These experiences really shaped my overall approach to Product; one in which the business and marketing sides of are just as important as the technology and user experience ones.
What led you today to be CPO at Younited? Why Younited?
I had no prior experience in Fintech, and to be honest, at the time, I hadn't even considered making a move there. So much so that when Younited called me, at first, I told them they probably got the wrong number. Joke aside, I was really seduced by the founders' vision on how to leverage technology and innovation to reinvent and redefine e-credit practices to become the customer’s most trusted financial partner.
This greatly resonated with me because at the time, I was doing the same thing, in a different industry. At ZeroLight, I managed a product platform that was leveraging advanced 3D and cloud technologies to reinvent the automotive customer marketing and buying experiences. The structural missions between Younited and ZeroLight were the same; proposing new innovative ways, more customer-centric ways, to deliver goods and services that are often the panacea of large, traditional incumbent enterprises, sometimes with a monopoly.
Younited was also in the perfect state of mind to welcome change. They had experienced hypergrowth for many years, and to sustain it, they realized that it was key to accelerate the productization of its services and projects. With all that in mind, it ticked all the boxes of a great new challenge for me.
Could you explain more about your role?
My mission as CPO of Younited can be divided into three pillars.
The first part of my mission is to build and drive the product organization. This consists in managing feature discovery, integrating design processes, product development, product launches and product marketing. We currently have 22 squads, with 25+ product managers, and the tech/product/design team counts 250+ people. In this context, we lead the release management and prioritization activities to ensure that we are all working on the right thing, at the right time. We are building processes that allow us to adapt quickly, whilst still being reliable on longer commitment and deliveries.
The second is the platform vision. The payment and credit markets are super active and very competitive, so we must make the very best strategic decisions from a platform and offering point of view. We are creating a fully integrated experience, from credit and payment all the way to coaching and financial education. It is therefore crucial to always work on a unified vision and north star for the benefit of our customers and to sustain our hypergrowth scale up ambitions.
Finally, the focus on communication, is to me, one of the most important pillars of our mission in the Product team. We spend a lot of time between the five countries we are operating in (France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Spain), making sure that all our stakeholders are perfectly aligned. We create a continuous two-way communication process to gather feedback, opportunities, and needs from our stakeholders, partners and customers whilst making sure we educate and continuously explain where we’re going, and why.