Low-Code Founders: Hélène Lucien, founder of Makezu.io

First of all, how did you come to follow this path ?

“After a short period of my life as a maths teacher, I decided to leave the salary system behind and push the door of entrepreneurship by creating an artists’ collective.

The objective of the collective was to organise a new form of representation and exhibition. One of the first hurdles was to bring together artists, patrons and financiers. For me, this experience was very constructive and taught me a lot of things, including self-help and organization skills. This kind of project is one of the best school of entrepreneurship!

At the same time, I started working as an independent consultant for large audiovisual groups, unknowingly preparing the premises of a very technical project, and especially the launch of Makezu a few years later.

What made you leave the traditional wage-employment system?

When I left the Faculty, I had several job interviews. The idea of entering a hierarchical and fixed structure did not really appeal to me.

I am an intrinsically autonomous and independent person, I was therefore reluctant to pursue my professional development as an employee and had never felt afraid of starting as an entrepreneur.

That’s why I quickly decided to go ahead on my own. From the beginning, I was aware that once you make the decision to become an entrepreneur, you have to consider the risks and sacrifices of this choice by yourself.

How did you first come across the Makezu concept?

I was able to observe the progressive installation of social networks in France during my work in audiovisual groups.

The arrival of these new technologies for sharing and concentrating data was already shaking up content, interactions and audiences : all business models were being rethought, so it was vital to innovate.

It all started from an intuition concerning advertising on the Internet: the fact that public data posted on social networks was often poorly and under-exploited.

As we have all noticed one day or another, the advertisements we are exposed to on these networks are essentially linked to our web searches, the links we click on and the websites we visit. Although effective, this type of advertising is nevertheless becoming perceived as a nuisance because it is seen as being too present and not adapted to real needs.

I realized that targeted advertising was sending messages that were unrelated to the reality of consumers’ lifecourse (whether in terms of content or timing of publication) despite the possession of data that allowed for accurate analysis to track different interests.

More specifically, a disastrous retargeting experience confirmed my intuition by testifying to the magnitude of the need: while I had just bought a mattress, I continued to receive mattress advertisements for 9 months (and not pillows or complementary products that would have been really useful).

Tweeting on the subject, many people confirmed the problem and above all supported the reality of the need: nobody offered me a pillow or duvet when I needed anything but a second mattress!

When I realised that I wasn’t the only one concerned, this simple frustration gave rise to a business idea : Makezu was born.

How did you approach a technical project like Makezu as a non-expert in the field?

My relationship with technology was permanent or almost permanent in my previous projects and I always worked closely or remotely with technicians and engineers. I therefore never had any preconceived ideas or obstacles with regard to technological subjects.

Managing the technical issue of my first start-up confirmed to me that, even if there is no point in being afraid of it, one should not underestimate the importance and impact of technology in relation to business and marketing needs.

I started looking for a solution that would offer the right balance. To be able to manage the technical team according to Time-to-Market needs and end-user feedback, the Tech had to move from being a decision-maker to being executive and customer-focused.

I finally heard about the new “Low-Code / No-Code” frameworks for visual programming, in particular Bubble.io. After some research, I was quickly seduced by this new development of the technical stack in record time that allowed a reduction of the Time-to-Market.

The geographical distance with the United States led me to take a close look at the French and European digital agencies specialised in this field. Then I met the Cube team (ex Intrafounders) with whom I had a good vibe. I was immediately convinced by the agility and flexibility of their work methods and I decided to trust them to launch the Makezu project.

What advice would you give to people who are hesitant about starting a business?

Go for it!

I am in favour of zero regret. It’s a mindset that’s difficult to develop and takes time, but the best way to get there is to simply go for it. You then realise that this is what makes you stronger and moves you forward.

With the new No-Code movement, appropriation of the technique has never been so open and easy. Even without a technical background, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find excuses for not carrying out Techs projects.

Trust yourself!