Eric Léandri : Founder of Qwant

Qwant company : is a European search engine that provides users with results from the web and social media on the same page, without recording any of their personal data.

Number of employees : 150 (all based in France)

How would you explain the benefits of Qwant to a regular web user?

It’s a search engine that doesn’t hold information on users’ health, political views or sexual orientation, which stops aggressive ads from being able to target them. You don’t need to hand over reams of personal data to have a pleasant internet experience.

How did you come up with this idea?

In 2010-11, Google started pushing its own products, with YouTube, Google Shopping and Google Maps all taking over. That’s when we decided to come up with an independent search engine that would provide a full list of results, rather than just a select few. What’s more, we were the first search engine to introduce a social media search category, offering even more results.

What have been your biggest successes to date?

For the past twenty years, no one has ever managed to capture any meaningful market share from Google. In 2000, they had 95%, but their share is now 6% lower, 4% of which has gone to Qwant.

Do you feel that the current business environment will help you continue to thrive?

Yes. In fact, we’ve been able to speed things up a bit lately, having created new partnerships on a visit to China as part of the “La French Tech” initiative. This program has given us access to a pool of resources, such as information on funding, existing accelerators, and loans provided by Bpifrance, the French public investment bank. France’s research tax credit has also proved useful, enabling us to hire more staff. The French Tech Pass simplifies things with Bpifrance and helps us bring new talent to France.

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