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Alain Chuard (Founder, Wildfire)

Why the former pro-snowboarder started Wildfire and how he sold it to Google for $450 million

Episode #1: Alain Chuard (Founder, Wildfire)

Why the former pro-snowboarder started Wildfire and how he sold it to Google for $450 million

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Shownotes

Episode #1: Alain Chuard (Founder, Wildfire)

 

Interview Timestamps

  • 03:07 – Growing up in Switzerland
  • 06:14 – Education and first job as investment banker
  • 15:04 – Starting an adventure travel company
  • 18:15 – How to make it work when your co-founder is your wife
  • 20:54 – Going to business school
  • 24:43 – Coming up with the Wildfire idea
  • 28:39 – How to find product-market fit
  • 29:40 – How to get the timing of your startup right
  • 33:59 – Scaling Wildfire
  • 36:24 – Sale of Wildfire to Google
  • 41:45 – How it is to work for Google
  • 43:50 – Leaving Google
  • 44:37 – Surfing metaphor
  • 47:14 – Swiss startup ecosystem
  • 52:13 – How to perform well

Relevant links

Biography

Alain Chuard is a Swiss serial entrepreneur and former professional snowboarder living in Palo Alto, California. He is best known as the founder and Chief product officer of Wildfire Interactive, the social media marketing technology company acquired by Google in July 2012. At Google Alain was named Head of Product for Google My Business, the leading product for Google’s main self-service business portal. In this role he is responsible for product vision, strategy, and roadmap. Prior to this, Alain founded and served as Chief Product Officer for Wildfire Interactive, Inc., a social marketing software-as-a-service company that enables brands and agencies to manage their communications, track performance and engage consumers on social media. Once acquired by Google, Alain was responsible for overseeing Wildfire’s strategy, integration into Google’s Display Ads Division, and external representation of the product. While at Stanford, he also built an online booking and CRM software called IncFuel Corp. His early professional years were spent as a financial analyst with New York investment bank Salomon Smith Barney and as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Highland Capital Partners. After realizing that he was not passionate about what he was doing, Alain quit this job to co-found Access Travel, Ltd., a leading brand in instructional adventure travel. Alain is a former world-ranking professional snowboarder who competed on the World-Cup Pro Tour. He was ranked in the top 4 in Switzerland, placed in the top 4 in the NY State qualifier for the U.S. National Championships, and is among the most published snowboard athletes in history. Alain holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (2007) and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Macalester College (1999) in St. Paul, MN.

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