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Laurent Decrue, co-founder MOVU, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #187 - Laurent Decrue: The Highs And Lows Of MOVU

Laurent Decrue

September 23, 2021

5:10 - The DeinDeal mafia

18:53 - The biggest mistakes at MOVU

23:40 - Going bankrupt

28:07 - Saying no to a lot of money

42:34 - Why stay at MOVU

About Laurent Decrue

Laurent Decrue is the co-founder of the moving company MOVU and the software company Holycode, and is currently also the CEO at Bexio.

He grew up with a headstrong grandfather who pressured him to take a corporate job at UBS. Despite getting along well with the people there, his problem with authority made UBS too stifling an environment for his entrepreneurial spirit. When he got layed off due to the financial crisis, he decided to join DeinDeal.

Laurent thinks there were two main reasons for DeinDeal's "mafia status":

- It was an unprecedentedly fast growing company, which attracted a certain type of personality;

- It was a very big company overall, which, statistically, means spin-offs are bound to happen.

Unfortunately he suffered a small burnout during his time at DeinDeal, which motivated him to take a break from working before starting his own ventures. During this break he got his masters' degree. He never received any professional help to overcome the effects of his burnout, which in hindsight seems to him like poor decision making. He also feels a certain resentment towards the people he'd been working for, for not having helped him spot the warning signs. Laurent feels guilty himself about not having been able to do this either with two of his own employees later on.

The idea for MOVU came from his own frustration at the slowness of the existing moving services. Despite the company's success, they also underwent a series of challenges:

- From the beginning they knew they wanted to develop a subscription model around a cleaning service, but it took them so long to get to it that by the time that they did, another company had already jumped on the bandwagon and was having great success;

- Their original CTO left, and it was difficult to make sure he got fair compensation: they ended up assigning some of his shares to the new CTO and buying out some of his shares as well;

- More than once they neared bankruptcy, as investment rounds often hinged on a few yes's and no's. This was particularly nerve-wrecking considering some of the people in the MOVU team were parents;

- They received a very generous offer for MOVU early on but declined it, because it did not make strategic sense. They risked a lot to play the long game, but it ended up paying off.

In 2016 Helvetia acquired Moneypark. This let Laurent know that other insurance companies would soon start making investments, and so he made sure to get in contact with the lot of them. MOVU eventually got sold to Baloise.

Simultaneously to creating MOVU, he also founded Holycode, which provides nearshoring services. He remains there as a board member, and has also since 2020 been active as the CEO of Bexio, after Jeremias Meier stepped down from the job.

Memorable Quotes:

"If you get 1% better everyday, that's 37times better per year."

"You need to have the courage to realize that during tough times you need to go hard, and during easy times you need to take it slow. Don't push yourself over the brink."

Resources Mentioned:

Startup CEO, by Matt Blumberg

The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

Zero To One, by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

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