It took me literally 2 years to reach out to Isaac Arnault (PhD), tech entrepreneur and person of public interest. He is a disruptive tech entrepreneur and one the most influential worldwide, not solely on the Internet but also on the blockchain ecosystem.
These are the questions I’ve asked him.
Isaac, we follow you since 2013, why are you so secret? Almost nobody knows who is behind StatesOne.
I am not secret, I am just busy.
Please tell us something about StatesOne which made you known as tech entrepreneur back in 2013.
First of all, StatesOne means “States of the world as One”. It pledges for a more open, unite and connected world.
I am a self-made man. I never co-opted and I started from nothing and from zero knowledge on computing technologies and programming which I started to learn back in 2013.
It all started back in 2012 actually, 1 year before my PhD thesis defense. I’ve been wondering why major Search engines did not actually released a news timeline for the so-called “less developed” countries such as Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya… and I set myself a challenge to build a Search Engine that will be an extension of major Search Engines regarding these countries, and which will give a better depiction of them. This is how StatesOne was born. When I bootstrapped this platform in August 2012 it was called StatesOpium, then StatesOne 3 years later, then S1Ngine which is its new name as of 2020.
Regarding the early development, we made the Proof of Concept for 1 country and then 3 years later (2015) we started to scale the platform to more countries. Today, our platform highlights news from 42 countries.
So, you tried to improve the image of the less developed countries. Was that your philosophy?
Correct. More than a philosophy, I set it as a mission and I can say that my team and I did a pretty great job.
Moreover, I think there’s still a lot to do to improve less developed countries’ image in the global media, which should stop focusing on poverty and death. These are obviously part of the reality, but every country has its own miseries. Hope and accomplishment can come from less developed countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and they have talented citizens in various fields.
What are the key milestones of StatesOne?
We are an 8-year-old startup company, funded on our sole assets. We have zero debt 8 years later and we are quite proud of it.
We are ranked in Alexa among top 100K most visited websites out of 1 billion sites.
We have more than 40K organic users on S1Ngine, the new name of StatesOne as of 2020.
We have more than 20K organic followers on Twitter, more than 5K organic fans on Facebook, more than 1K organic followers on Pinterest and also on Linkedin.
Which advice can you give to young entrepreneurs who start out of nothing as you have?
Believe in your idea whatever your friends or relatives will tell you, work really hard to get that proof of concept, Pray to God, stay humble, master your fears and redo these steps in this order again and again until you see the results. This worked for me.
Actually, StatesOne is a pretty sleek product we enjoyed browsing on the web. How do you do if you’ve raised no money till now? You have to keep the product alive.
This is like the Coca-Cola recipe secret. Struggling really hard like working 18 hours a day non-stop, every day even Saturdays and Sundays is part of our DNA and this is one of our secrets. To say it in plain English ‘hard work’.
What is your business model and did some companies already trust you?
Our Business Model is selling online advertisements. Booking was the first company to trust us for selling their ad spaces. Other major companies followed such as The North Face, Kaspesky, Sonos, among others.
Any recruitment planned for StatesOne?
We are looking to invest in recruiting top profiles who can help us increase our revenue. Recruiting top developers will also help us scale up. But first we need to find an early-stage investor who will trust us and who we can trust, then the process will follow.
We saw articles of you mentioning the blockchain and the bitcoin, how much are you involved in these topics?
I try to be a humble contributor to the blockchain, with the educative media I launched in 2017, BitcoinToro . It’s not the most famous media that exists online, but people should know it’s definitely among the most trusted ones.
What can we wish you, Isaac?
I hope that this interview can inspire someone in the world.
Thanks Isaac, for the time you’ve granted to Disrupt Magazine.