Valsoft Corporation

Valsoft Corporation

April 25, 2016 07:00 ET

Valsoft: CEO Ouissam Youssef Shares Approach to Tech Success

MONTREAL, CANADA--(Marketwired - April 25, 2016) - Over the past decade, Concordia graduate and Valsoft CEO Ouissam Youssef has written his own playbook and played by his own rules to build an impressive worldwide tech business from Montreal. Now, he has made it a mission not only to continue its growth, but to share the fundamental principles that led to his success.

After launching a number of web ventures, Ouissam and his partners are currently focusing on the expansion of Valnet and Valsoft, companies that he co-founded in the fields of web publishing and vertical market software respectively. Valnet owns an impressive portfolio of some of the world's biggest lifestyle websites, including TheRichest.com and ScreenRant.com, while Valsoft specializes in the development and commercialization of vertical software solutions.

"We look to enter an industry where there is a long tail of small, but profitable businesses," advanced Ouissam. "This means that the industry is fragmented, with a relatively low barrier to entry, which makes it quite easy to become profitable, especially in the lifestyle sector."

Valnet enters this field either by buying one of the small players or by creating its own business, with the goal to become cash-flow positive and profitable as quickly as possible. "Most businesses fail because they bleed money," pointed Ouissam. "By following this strategy, we make money every day, which allows us to put our energies in getting stronger, instead of chasing operating capital."

In the early stages, the entrepreneur re-invests every dime of profit to compete with long tail players. Once he has consolidated the foundations of a business and feels confident in its abilities to play on a larger field, he shifts to an "offence" strategy by acquiring complementary companies or by stimulating organic initiatives with the sole purpose of achieving the scale needed to become an undisputed leader.

Ouissam affectionately calls this method the "L'Acadie School of Business," in reference to his first modest office on Montreal's L'Acadie Boulevard. Today, there are several successful companies in the city founded by ex-employees who have followed his playbook.

"We are not early movers. We don't invent or create something new, but prefer to take an existing concept and apply our know-how to make it better, faster, more efficient and more usable," explained Ouissam. "As second movers, we believe we are among the best in the world at taking something that has shown a certain level of success and propelling it to a leadership position in its industry."

Following this philosophy, Ouissam choses to avoid the venture capital style of doing business, preferring to grow with his eyes on the EBITDA and the bottom line of his operations.

"If it doesn't make money, it doesn't make sense," continued Ouissam. "We get into already proven business models, which tend to generate revenue immediately. If we can make a profit and if we see an opportunity for improvement, we will act fast and throw our resources at it to kick the door wide open. Our capital enables us to consolidate opportunities quickly."

Ouissam Youssef is passionate about Internet businesses for two obvious reasons. Firstly, he enjoys the fact that the world is accessible literally with the click of a button, which permits him to test concepts and adjust rapidly if some aspects need improvement. Secondly, he appreciates the scalability potential of web-based companies. "You don't need much more staff to operate a website that generates 100 million views per month, than a website that generates one million," said Ouissam. "Scale is what I love about Internet businesses, especially in software: once we build something great, we can sell it many times with minimum impact on our operating costs."

Ouissam is a strong advocate of empowering employees within his group of companies. He believes in encouraging people to step up and take responsibilities to stimulate growth. "We want people to make decisions like it is their own business, and we don't mind if they make mistakes. We believe deeply in the power that comes from mistakes, because they provide the invaluable lessons and wisdom that enable someone to reach success and enjoy it. We give our people the opportunity to learn from failure, and reward them commensurately, within an entrepreneurial culture that allows us to attract the best talent," says Ouissam Youssef. "We offer mentorship and tutelage, gladly sharing the successes and pitfalls accumulated in almost two decades of starting and operating businesses."

"We are living in a great era for Internet and software start-ups. Many of the companies that are being created now will still be here in 30 years," noted Ouissam. "By then, you will have a much harder time launching new ones, because the leaders will control unassailable amounts of market share."

As businesses continue to shift from offline to online, Ouissam is adamant that now is the time to seize opportunities. "Believe it or not, lots of businesses are still using paper and pen to run their operations," concluded Ouissam. "And this will all inevitably change: every company, no matter its size, will need to use software. There has never been a more exciting time for us and we look forward to working with more visionary entrepreneurs. There are many revolutionary ideas out there waiting to be discovered and brought to market."

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