Les Talent Stories – Scaleway

The Talent Stories series opens the doors to the top French Tech start ups. Each at their turn talks about their DNA, how they have survived the true test of the digital transformation of 2020, and how they are changing the world by making a positive social or environmental impact.

Next up in the series is Scaleway, a cloud startup of currently 350 Scalers and growing fast, with an English-first work environment and open to hiring digital nomads. We got their Global Head of HR and Culture, Catherine Ferrary Simon to tell us what makes them stand out and what they have in the plans for the future – especially junior talent, read on!

The Talent Stories are brought to you by France Digitale Talent.

Welcome to the Scaleway Maisons, or as they describe it, a ‘disruptive hacker house concept’ which was created in collaboration with the Scaleway engineers themselves. Instead of a noisy open space, their offices are designed to give a homely feel, while offering colourful flex office workspaces to all teams. For many of the open positions, applicants can choose to be based either at the Paris or Lille Maisons – or fully remote, if that works better. Over to you, Catherine, to tell us more!

A few words about Scaleway

Scaleway, leading alternative European infrastructure and platform as-a-service provider, is a European cloud computing company that was founded in 1999. The company offers an essential mix of cloud computing resources that is flexible, cost effective, reliable, secure and sustainably powered. Scaleway’s Service offerings range from infrastructure and platform as a service, dedicated services,  and data centers to other cutting-edge offerings supporting 300,000+ clients in over 160 countries. Part of Xavier Niel’s iliad Group, it is currently in hyper-growth mode, going from 200 ‘Scalers’ last year to 350 today; and aims to hire at least another 100 people over the next year. The objective: diversify talent, and give more opportunities to engineers with all levels of experience and from different backgrounds. If you are passionate about cloud computing, have a growth mindset and know your stuff, look no further!

How was 2020 and what are your plans for 2021?

We managed to hire 100 new Scalers in 2020 – despite Covid-19 – to help increase our capacity to offer ever more innovative solutions adapted to the scaling needs of our customers. Hiring during a pandemic created a whole new series of challenges, and forced us to adapt to new ways of working. We had to create a remote policy that works for all different job types, providing as much flexibility as possible despite the pandemic’s considerable constraints. So, while many Scalers had the freedom to work from home, others were welcome to work from Scaleway’s ‘Maisons’, in Paris and Lille, as long as 30% of the buildings’ total capacities weren’t surpassed. We also moved to asynchronous work where possible, to give more flexibility and autonomy to Scalers to balance their own schedules while juggling family and other obligations. Finally, we upgraded our objective-setting and feedback policies, to start instilling a culture of continuous feedback.

What differentiates you from others?

People come first. We know that if we create an environment where people can thrive, they will do their best work. We believe in autonomy and trust. We’re all adults! We focus on the well-being of our employees in order to provide the best possible support to our clients. For example, we have set up numerous collaborative workshops that facilitate interaction between colleagues. We have been able to react, and to adapt our working methods, as well as our tools. 

As well as responding to immediate recruitment issues, we are actively involved in redefining training needs in the university sector and within public administrations. This approach is in line with our desire to help prepare employees, students and future students for the technologies of tomorrow, some of which have yet to be invented.

How do you translate your values into behaviors ? 

At Scaleway we know that values are more than buzzwords; they are the foundation of the code of how we weigh every decision, policy or initiative in the company. They are the compass that guides us and makes our company culture what it is. 

  • Singularity – diversity and openness are strategic assets for nurturing our business growth. We have committed to take a proactive approach to develop the rich skills and competencies of all our workforce
  • Community – we lift each other up, learn and grow together: we’re not a family, but a team, a community of Scalers. We are honest and strive to be clear and transparent in our behavior and communications.
  • Adventure – Scaleway is a challenge nobody’s ready for but go for it anyway. Innovation is in our DNA, we constantly strive for the best and that also comes from trying new ideas
  • Leadership – leadership is about action, not just a position. As effective leaders, we have major impacts on not only the team members we manage, but also on the company as a whole
  • Excellence – we are a true alternative cloud, we want to bring customers the products they know and love, with a level of support that is unbeatable, and predictable pricing
  • Rock solid – building great things means taking risks and it can be scary, however in our constantly changing world “the riskiest thing is to take no risks”. We encourage and empower every Scaler to be a resilient leader, even if that means being wrong from time to time

What do you have planned next?

Scaleway was founded in 1999 so we’re not exactly the new kids on the block! Many of our most senior employees were actually hired in the very beginning, right out of school. Fast forward 20 years, and we’ve got a lot of very senior people on the team… but very few juniors. Our goal is to now diversify our talent pool and create opportunities for recent graduates, as well as others in the early stages of their career, to learn from our seniors, and create their own paths at Scaleway.

Where do you see Scaleway in 10 years ? 

Scaleway will be a major purveyor of tech employment at scale, generating thousands of jobs, nurturing and developing talent mainly in Europe, but also all over the world, by having adopted a largely remote practice, with flexible work conditions that allow for autonomy and trust. That’s the kind of teamwork we believe will lead us to new heights.

One last story to share?

It’s an exciting time to join a pioneering, sustainability-focused French tech company which will practically have doubled in size in less than two years. We’re convinced our hyperscale context is the ideal place for the next wave of tech talent to grow… and as such, for you to write exciting new chapters of your own career story!

Read more about working at Scaleway here.

Do you want to join a French Tech startup or scale-up in France or elsewhere?

More information on the Talent Program and France Digitale.