WeAreTheCity talks becoming an entrepreneur, challenges & pursuing dreams with Eliane Lugassy, CEO, Witco

Meet Eliane Lugassy

Co-Founder & CEO, Witco

After studying business law and obtaining a degree from ESSEC, Eliane began her career at Rothschild & Co in Paris on Mergers and Acquisitions.  She accompanied several real estate projects, including the sale of the “Cœur Défense” building.  In 2016, she left finance to create Witco an application that improves tenant experience in all buildings while facilitating their management. Offices, residences, coworking and co-living. Witco adapts to all types of properties thanks to flexible technology and personalised support, and will be critical to businesses as WiFI is.

In this piece, WeAreTheCity talks to Eliane about becoming an entrepreneur, the challenges she’s faced along the way and why you should always pursue your dreams.

I have always pursued my dreams, whatever the odds.

Work is central to my life and sense of purpose, and I wanted to be a lawyer from the age of seven. I was ambitious as a child and wanted my ambition to benefit others.  

I studied business law and obtained a degree from ESSEC before starting at Rothschild & Co, working on Mergers and Acquisitions. It was a fast-paced environment with the opportunity to learn from experts within a culture that rewarded hard work.  

Specialising in investment banking would ultimately help me start a business.

I spent lots of time networking to learn from the best and trying to get the right people to see the value of my product.

 

This also helped me understand how to approach angel investors and venture capitalists, which was critical to securing early funding.  

Witco was born out of need. During my time in business, I noticed even some of the largest, most powerful businesses in the world are held back by needless procedures. For everything in the modern office, there is another application to download or a password to remember and hide. As important as the office experience was to meeting people and progressing in my career, it was tainted by frustrating processes; if you forget your key card, you can’t get back in. If the air-con is broken, it isn’t clear how to report the issue. We needed a single digital solution to answer these pain points.  

I realised that businesses globally needed physical spaces to support their employees, but this often wasn’t happening. Witco’s application would streamline these processes, making the office experience more enjoyable and productive. This became even more necessary post lockdown and COVID, when it was time to reinvent the hybrid office. Drawing on our experience of servicing clients in multi-tenant, coliving  residential spaces, we focused on reforming the shared workspaces to meet the needs of the modern workforce; from arranging meeting rooms to organising catering, concierge services and even dry cleaning.

There have been many challenges along the way. Prior to the Great Resignation, potential customers said they did not see the importance of improving conditions for their employees. I persisted regardless, hoping to unsettle a major industry with the belief that a single digital solution was what the modern office was lacking.

Today every business owner knows that they have to be flexible and receptive to employee needs if they want to remain competitive.

 

With the increase in hybrid working, employers now recognise the importance of dynamic, personalised shared  spaces to facilitate healthy collaboration between teams.

Accordingly, we were able to expand during Covid, raising 12 million euros in 2021 to support our UK and European expansion. The future is hybrid, and employers worldwide know that the office now serves a new role in consolidating company identity and helping employees feel recognised and supported.  

My career comes first. As a result, I know where you work is crucial to productivity. If you are going to give a job your best, you need your environment to be working with you. You need to know that devices are going to be available and work when you request them, that lunch is ready when you want it and that spaces are available when you need to decompress. I am proud to see Witco today operating in more than 5,000 companies across 200 cities and in over 800 buildings. And we’re just getting started.  

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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