Continuing with our series of Member Spotlights, we welcome Alexis Chevallot from Capto to introduce his business, where they design, build and manage automated tasks and processes. We hear about Alexis and his co founder Marchela’s raison d’être and why technology can speed up so much of the work we do.
Tell us about yourself and your company. When were you founded?
I will start with a catchy sentence that actually describes me well. I would say I am someone who faced challenges and real happiness early on which led me to always seek to do what I love! I grew up in the French countryside and quickly wanted to go far from it to see more of the world. I set off and lived, not just travelled, in 8 countries. Experiencing so much so early, the challenge was to find a challenging job that would help me do what I love. Disrupting technologies that can help people concretely is what I’m passionate about and what I love doing. For me it was always important that I can do something I can realistically see the impact of.
With that in mind, I joined PwC as one of the firm’s first tech innovative people on the team at the time. With support from leadership, I created a team that was able to automate the most challenging and repetitive processes of our clients. That was a real confirmation for me that what I love doing and the mix between technical challenge and entrepreneurship were really making me happy. At PwC, I was lucky to meet Marchela, my partner and later co-founder, who had a very different background but a similar vision of how today’s technologies could help people enjoy and get more out of their job… by automating the boring parts of it.
Being together in a big corporation, we were seeing that the “boring” unfulfilling part of our jobs was consistently left unresolved, so we decided to get right to it – last year we created Capto.
Capto automates boring processes using open-source technologies which (finally!) makes automation accessible, flexible, scalable and affordable for companies of all sizes and processes of all complexity. This enables us to bring flexibility in both large enterprises and SMEs to start automating the “quick-wins” really quickly and have a real impact from day one, and then scale efficiently.
Where did you get the idea for your company?
The idea came very naturally, to be honest, and grew stronger with each day as I was getting more and more experience in automation. I was seeing the untapped potential of automation and meeting Marchela who was seeing opportunities for automation in the work of her team almost daily, made it very clear that there is a need, both from an individual and business perspective, to automate a lot of processes and tasks that were manual, repetitive, inefficient and, frankly, really no fun to do.
Describe your lightbulb moment at which point you knew your venture might actually become a success.
To be honest with you, I am not someone who jumps to conclusions from the start so there wasn’t really a lightbulb moment but a long tail of thoughts. I was seeing so many activities in the daily job of so many colleagues and friends which are not automated because the simple Zappier couldn’t do it. The traditional players had to impact thousands of work hours to justify the investment. Seeing this convinced me that not only will Capto be successful but we will really bring a needed value. For me, adding value is the most important part of a successful venture and, with Marchela and the team, I know we deliver that every day since our first project.
What are you most passionate about in business? How do you continue to challenge yourself?
Honestly, the job of our clients. I love learning about different businesses and processes and seeing how we can push them toward a much more innovative and technology-boosted future. That’s what makes me fulfilled and keeps me inspired daily. I think the luck, or curse (laugh) we have in technology companies is that we are continuously challenged to improve and innovate. Otherwise we become irrelevant very quickly and I quite like this unspoken pressure to keep innovating and creating. Even better when it’s to serve our clients.
What or who inspired you to establish your company?
Covid… transparently. Covid happened and businesses realised that technology is far better than just “not harmful”. In times when offices were closed and in-person team meetings were off the table, it allowed us all to continue to operate, and do so efficiently and with limited disruptions (where possible), whilst keeping staff and customers connected. It disrupted so many companies that it opened far more easily a lot of conversations about how to make businesses better, how to improve processes and adopt automation where possible, and that was the push in the right direction that we needed to set up Capto because the timing was just right!
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you, and did you follow it?
‘Have a structure’… Soizic Guery, one of my previous colleagues at PwC advised me this and ever since, I’ve followed this precisely. It came after an unsuccessful project and since that time I have been very focused on keeping a very strong structure in my work. It was also the best advice I could have gotten before starting up a business. The execution can very quickly get messy when you start transforming an idea into a business and structure and methodology are key to success and keeping focus when it all starts going in all directions.
Who do you most admire and why?
Ok, not original here, but Elon Musk. I am one of the many in the fan club, I guess but for me, his strength and courage to push for unconventional ideas in his vision to make humanity move forward is something truly inspiring. To think about a greater purpose than simply building a business and not evangelizing the easy success is something I admire a lot. We always try to do something that brings real value and helps for the greater good and it often comes with a lot of hard work and more hours than a 9 to 5 job but I admire Elon for the incomparable success and impact he is having.