You may have heard of our new VP of Product, Sebastien Provencher, a leader in product management and the local marketing industry, but if you haven’t, here are a few interesting things to know about Acquisio’s newest leader.
He worked at YPG for 4 years
To be called a leader in the local industry, you need the experience to back it up.
Sebastien worked at Yellow Pages Group (YPG) for more than four years in the early 2000s, starting out as an ecommerce product manager, responsible for ecomm solutions and product management for small businesses.
“I was promoted for my strength in product management, and took over the whole product management team,” he said, and “with my team we created the backbone for digital revenue over the next ten years at YPG by creating a product called Directory Plus, which when I left was generating 200 million in revenue per year, in Canada.”
“My team represented about 10% of the whole digital advertising market in Canada.”
He was promoted to Senior Manager, Strategy & New Business Development and made sure YPG switched from a directory business to more of a digital local search business.
He’s Started his own Startup
“The only reason I left YPG in 2007 was because my startup got funded,” said Provencher.
“In 2006 I started working on a startup idea, we built a prototype and we raised 1 million dollars of venture capital money, which allowed us to go full time and hire a team.”
Even though the company closed down, Provencher says the experience was well worth it.
“We went through everything you can think of, growth, slow down, cutting employees, hiring employees, building new products and pivoting, and those were probably the best years of my professional life,” said the local marketing professional.
“It prepared me for anything after that.”
He’s Pals with Mitch Joel
Back in 2008, Mitch Joel, internet guru and digital marketing sensation, said that “Seb is one of the smartest thinkers I have ever met when it comes to the Internet.”
When asked about how the two met, Provencher said that since both marketers are from Montreal, it only seemed natural that they meet.
“We hit it off right away,” Provencher said. “We realized we both have these crazy ideas and ways of looking at the world” and that’s what made the pair click.
While both marketers are too busy for regular lunch dates, they share a mutual respect for each other that hasn’t changed.
He’s Excited to Join Acquisio
“For me, Acquisio feels like a startup,” he explained. “I tell people I’m going to work for a startup in Montreal and they ask how long it’s been funded. I say over 10 years and they say it’s not a startup. Then people ask if there’s revenue, and I say yeah there’s tens of millions in revenue and I hear, ‘oh that’s not a start up,’.”
But it’s the company culture that attracted him.
“If you approached me a year ago with a very conservative political work environment with waterfall and everything, I wouldn’t have joined the company,” he said, “But it’s the right time with the re-invention. The market has changed, Acquisio is changing as well, and we’re bringing new fresh talent on board.”
“I come with a startup view as an agent of change and feel I can accelerate innovation and quality and attract more talent, which is what attracted me to Acquisio,” said Provencher.
While joining Acquisio more than ten years after its creating is a bit like jumping on a moving train, Provencher is confident that he can “properly establish great product management practices within the organization.”
“I believe that when you work with talented people as a product manager you want to bring them early ideas and flesh them out together, because your team can add so much value to your idea.”
“At this point in my career this Acquisio is the right place for me to be,” said Sebastien Provencher. “I know the company needed someone like me and I’m very happy with where the company is and what the challenges are.”
He’s Passionate about Local
Having working in local marketing for more than 16 years, it’s no accident Provencher wanted to join Acquisio as the company focused more on local.
“I aim to use my expertise and knowledge of digital tools coupled with my understanding of how small business owners operate to bring products to the market that make sense and help SMBs thrive in the difficult economic environment,” explains Sebastien Provencher.
For him, local is more than just a fun marketing space to explore, it’s a passion.
“There’s a reason I work in local. I have a mission when working with small businesses, to help these guys against the Walmarts of the world. It’s a challenge to have a retail store, these people work long hours and they struggle to understand how the internet works and how it can drive more business. Yet these businesses play such an important role in our local ecosystems.”
“I don’t want to buy my stuff at Walmart, I want the local choice as well,” he said.
Equipping small businesses and helping them achieve success is Provencher’s main mission, and he will continue to do so with Acquisio.
Do you have any questions for our new VP of Product? Leave your question in the comments below and Provencher will reply.