Our French startup Digicoop is a remote-first worker cooperative. We started the company in 2015, based on our shared values and passion for technology. The goal was simple: make good products that will have a positive impact on companies. The road to funding, not so simple.
Due to our unique business model, which focuses on building a sustainable company, we had to forego venture capital and convince lots of players to take a chance. The effort paid off. Here’s a look at why we chose to be a co-op, how we got the funding and how it drives our product development.
Table of Contents
- Raison d’être
- SCOP: We’re all in this together
- Co-ops on the rise
- A new approach to management
- Sustainable growth
- Co-op funding, a tricky business
- Exit strategy? Not here
- Hitting roadblocks
- Round 1: Community help
- Round 2: Crowdfunding
- Vision of the future
- Last but not least: our products
Unlike many startups, Digicoop wasn’t founded because of a particular product. Our story is a bit different. In 2015, a few friends and former colleagues came together to work on projects they were passionate about. Initially we didn’t know what those would be, but we quickly figured out the theme: collaborative work tools for teams.
Making that our focus was no coincidence. We recognized that the workplace was changing: distributed teams were becoming more common, and with that more transparency and an increased cross-team collaboration necessary. We became frustrated with traditional work tools and processes, as they were no longer enough.
We saw an opportunity to develop products suitable for the digital future, but that wasn’t our only driver. Being passionate about technology and the impact it can have on the society, we set out to build tools that could make a positive difference. The idea was to empower employees, not only managers.
Our shared values and vision of the workplace were the reason we decided to go against the grain and structure Digicoop as a worker cooperative (called SCOP in France), giving each employee a real stake in the company.