Dealing with Black Swans as an Entrepreneur

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We signed the acquisition of Cedemo’s product information business. It was all a bit strange: no champagne, no celebrations and everyone acutely aware of the impact of Covid-19 and the human cost of the pandemic. Our thoughts are with those impacted by the virus and the healthcare and front line workers doing such a great job. This all brings perspective to our daily life.

I always think its good to know a little about the people behind the news: I co-founded Cedemo in 1999 in Monaco with Fabrice Papazian. We’re not tax exiles. Fabrice was born in Monaco and I happened to be working there. Monaco is a great place to build a tech business with lots of Government support and a young, highly qualified multilingual workforce.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t choose a complex business like Cedemo as my first entrepreneurial venture. In the 90s I built up and sold two businesses, one a health-care company and the other a finance company. Both were acquired by UK businesses.

The acquisition of Cedemo’s product information and data business by Icecat, during the Covid-19 crisis has brought a lot of my experience into focus. Most of all, the need to stay calm when you get a curve ball and always to keep tactics and strategy apart. The tactics helped us navigate the rapidly evolving impact of the pandemic on the retail and e-commerce sectors. Strategy allowed us to lay the foundation with Icecat for a defensible market position going forward, as the digital transformation of multi-channel retailing accelerates around the world.

Focus and intensity allowed us to get the deal done against the odds and give the team the opportunity to build a world leading content aggregation platform. It has been a rewarding journey and I’m looking forward to the next phase, working closely with the Icecat team to execute on the plan.


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