With tech companies such as Meta once again postponing workers’ return to the office, it is clear that remote work will be a big part of our world in 2022 and beyond. This makes “future of work” a hot topic among investors, but that means different things to different people.
The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.
To get a better understanding of what kind of opportunities “future of work” encompasses from an investor perspective, The Exchange called on Eric Boustouller, who joined French multi-stage VC firm C4 Ventures last fall.
An industry veteran whose former roles include presiding over Microsoft in Western Europe and being CEO of Solocal, Boustouller also has a track record as an angel investor, with a sweet spot for B2B SaaS.
As one of C4 Ventures’ four partners alongside its founder, ex-Apple exec Pascal Cagni, Boustouller is now part of a firm whose thesis revolves around the following key verticals: smart hardware, future of commerce, digital media and future of work. It is the last that we discussed at length with him. What follows is a selection of topics from our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
‘Future of work’ is not entirely new
Eric Boustouller: Some 15 years ago, at Microsoft, we were talking about “the new world of work.” It has now become “the future of work.”
You may remember how a few years ago, then-CEO Steve Ballmer was calling out the so-called “consumerization of IT.” What was it all about? It was just that at the time, it became clear, and it’s even more obvious now, that people at work and consumers want the same tools at home and in the office. That was a disruption: It was no longer the IT department that was driving the show anymore, but the users themselves.