French digital sector trade event LesBigBoss keen to expand in Europe
Digilinx, the French trade show organiser that pioneered the digital industry show format called LesBigBoss, has ambitions beyond its domestic market, and wants to expand in Spain, Italy, the UK, Canada and the USA, by acquiring local show organisers whose approach is compatible with its trademark alternative format.
LesBigBoss was launched in 2013 as a series of events designed to promote networking between digital entrepreneurs and service providers. The events are financed by the service providers’ attendance fees, and are characteristic for their convivial atmosphere and exotic settings.
In the last six years, seaside, mountain and country holiday resorts have provided the backdrop to the signing of 3,103 service contracts ranging in value from €5,000 to €1 million. In the period, LesBigBoss staged nearly 90 different events, such as entertaining 600 professionals in a Mediterranean resort or organising VIP dinners in Paris, and built up a community of 2,297 “big bosses” and 419 service providers.
The format raised a few eyebrows in France at the outset, and the question remains whether it can be successfully replicated in other countries. “Not everywhere,” said the concept's instigator, Hervé Bloch. “For example, I don’t see LesBigBoss taking hold in Germany, where the same networking culture doesn’t exist. On the other hand, it will resonate in Latin countries, and in English-speaking ones, where the fabric of business relations is very informal,” added Bloch.
A few weeks ago, the Montefiore Investment fund became a majority shareholder in Digilinx, bringing €18 million in fresh funds, and LesBigBoss is now listening to its ‘sponsor’ service providers, in a bid to identify foreign trade events which could become potential acquisition targets.
The latter must have a solid community behind them, similar to the one LesBigBoss has fostered in France, and be able to attract marquee names from the local digital tech industry. “But they must also work on the personal relationship side,” said Bloch, adding that “a business event without a congenial atmosphere doesn’t work, it doesn't generate enough return on investment for our service providers. Bringing these two elements together is our trademark.”
Soon Digilinx will appoint a general manager in France for LesBigBoss, in order to give Bloch time to scout for potential targets abroad. Digilinx has a staff of 25, with nine positions currently open. LesBigBoss’s offices are located in West Paris, and members of its network regularly meet there, as well as being in daily contact with each other via a social media group.
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