Based in Western Europe, I'm a tech enthusiast with a track record of successfully leading digital projects for both local and global companies.1974 Birth.
1984 Delved into coding.
1999 Failed my First Startup in Science Popularization.
2010 Co-founded an IT Services Company in Paris/Beijing.
2017 Led a Transformation Plan for SwitchUp in Berlin.
June 2024 Eager to Build the Next Milestone Together with You.


Throughout my 25-year career, I've mastered the art of leading through the intricacies of technology and management, accumulating vast experience in strategic planning and hands-on technical development. Unlike the traditional high-level strategizing typical of CTO roles, my passion lies in immersing myself within the technical trenches, working alongside talented teams to design and execute cutting-edge solutions.I am eager to apply this blend of strategic leadership and technical expertise, aiming to drive innovation, enhance team capabilities, and lead projects that push the boundaries of what's possible in technology.This approach is more than just management; it's about staying intimately connected with the pulse of technology and nurturing a creative, hands-on environment that turns ambitious ideas into reality.

Skills

Gilles Crofils - Strategic thinker

Strategic Thinking
My background in basic physics has been crucial in developing my analytical skills. In my role at SwitchUp, I led a significant transformation plan that demanded a creative approach. This involved juggling short-term operational needs while steadily steering towards a completely new architecture, all achieved within the confines of limited resources.

Technical Expertise
In my view, technology serves a role that extends beyond merely supporting business functions; it is a fundamental driver of business expansion and innovation. Possessing a profound, hands-on understanding of technological capabilities is key to creativity.

Gilles Crofils - technical expert
Gilles Crofils - Most Reliable CTO

Reliability
I am deeply committed to my clients and their projects, delivering quality work with keen attention to detail. Maintaining transparent communication, I build trust-based relationships. My dedication ensures I am a dependable resource, even in challenging situations.

Cross-Cultural Management Expertise
My career has largely unfolded in diverse, multicultural settings. In the 1990s, I facilitated the entry of French companies into the Chinese market. The 2010s saw me establishing a company in China, and more recently, I've collaborated with a Berlin-based startup, working alongside a team of Russian developers. On a personal note, I'm now settled in Portugal.

Gilles Crofils - cross cultural manager

Metrics

Team size
For my own company, Second Bureau, I successfully hired and directly managed 17 individuals in Beijing. Remarkably, over a three-year span, only one person chose to leave the team. Considering the average turnover rate in China at the time was six months, this achievement is something I take great pride in.
Going back to 2007 with Generali, I directly oversaw a tight-knit group of 12, comprising both internal employees and outsourced professionals. Additionally, I held broader responsibility for approximately 30 team members.

Industries & Markets

Gilles Crofils - German energy market

Energy / German Market
For more than 6 years, I led a transformation plan for SwitchUp targeting a significant overhaul of the energy market in Germany. This involved in-depth analysis and understanding of the unique dynamics of the German energy sector, adapting innovative technologies to meet the market's specific needs, and navigating regulatory frameworks.

China
My connection with China began in the late 90s and has been enduring. Initially, I was employed by the French Chamber of Commerce, where I assisted French companies in setting up their operations. Additionally, I co-founded a ready-to-wear fashion brand, with production rooted in China.

Gilles Crofils - technical expert
Gilles Crofils - bank and insurance

Bank and Insurance
In the early 2000s, I held various roles at BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Generali, and Natixis, specializing in business intelligence and performance management. My tenure in these organizations focused on enhancing data-driven strategies and operational efficiencies, particularly in the IARD sector. This period was instrumental in shaping my understanding and expertise in the banking and insurance industries.

Real Estate
My involvement in real estate is driven by a profound personal interest. I oversee a family-owned enterprise that holds 8 properties. While I don't claim to be an industry expert, my experience has equipped me with a solid understanding of the market dynamics and economic aspects of it.

Gilles Crofils - real estate

25 Years in IT: A Journey of Expertise

2017 - 2023

SwitchUp
(Berlin/Remote)

Hands-On Chief Technology Officer
For this rapidly growing startup, established in 2014 and focused on developing a smart assistant for managing energy subscription plans, I led a transformative initiative to shift from a monolithic Rails application to a scalable, high-load architecture based on microservices.
More...

2015 - 2017

Propulsion Ecommerce
(Shanghai)

Co-founder / IT Guy
As a co-founder of this data-driven cross-border e-commerce platform, I led initiatives focusing on drip marketing campaigns and SEO hacks, crucial for growth without external funding. I co-managed a core team of 8 in-house professionals, complemented by an outsourced content writing team based in Madagascar.

2010 - 2013

Second Bureau
(Beijing/Paris)

Co-founder / Managing Director Asia
I played a pivotal role as a co-founder of this IT Services company, where we specialized in assisting local, state-owned, and international companies in crafting and implementing their digital marketing strategies. I hired and managed a team of 17 engineers.
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2005 - 2010

Micropole
(Paris)

IT Project Leader
• Business Intelligence Project Leader
• E-Business Project Leader
Micropole-Univers is one of the leading Business Intelligence and e-Business specialist in France. For our client Generali (insurance), I led a team of 12 engineers within a 75-member department on projects involving up to 100 people.

2001 - 2005

Unilog
(Paris)

Business Intelligence Deputy Project Leader
By 2005, Unilog posted sales of €593,1m and its Europe-based workforce of 6,700 made the company a major player in IT consulting, engineering and training, placing it among the main 10 operators in the French market. The company has been bought by LogicaCMG in 2006.

1999 - 2001

Popsciences
(Beijing/Paris)

Internet Start Up Founder
Designed and set-up this web site covering scientific research. Carried out preliminary analysis and market studies for the foundation of the company and sought for external financing. Designed product specifications. Analyzed and identified target users (including qualitative research and interviews). Developed the business plan. Set up the Beta functioning website.

Additional Professional Milestones

2009-...

Moulin de Gratteloup
(France)

Real Estate management
In a family-owned company overseeing 10 properties in France, I am responsible for budgeting and accounting processes. To streamline these operations, I implemented a custom Rails-based solution, enhancing efficiency and management capabilities. Currently exploring AI-based enhancements.

2000-2004

Que pour vous
(Beijing/Paris)

Co-Founder of a Ready-to-Wear Fashion Brand
I co-founded a French fashion label based in Paris with a Chinese designer. We expanded into the Western European market, with our products sold in 50+ stores. Production was primarily in Beijing and Shanghai, and we operated a boutique in Shanghai. I also handled import/export accounting for the business.

1998-1999

French Chamber of Commerce
(Beijing)

Executive Manager
Designed and organized training sessions for expatriates. Assisted top management in budgeting for new projects. Ensured that budgets and deadlines were respected. On the technical side, designed, installed, configured and maintained a Linux-based LAN network. Implemented a new MS Access-based solution. Also responsible for ongoing maintenance and the help desk. Managed a team of 6 people.

SwitchUp Logo

SwitchUp
SwitchUp is dedicated to creating a smart assistant designed to oversee customer energy contracts, consistently searching the market for better offers.

In 2017, I joined the company to lead a transformation plan towards a scalable solution. Since then, the company has grown to manage 200,000 regular customers, with the capacity to optimize up to 30,000 plans each month.Role:
In my role as Hands-On CTO, I:
- Architected a future-proof microservices-based solution.
- Developed and championed a multi-year roadmap for tech development.
- Built and managed a high-performing engineering team.
- Contributed directly to maintaining and evolving the legacy system for optimal performance.
Challenges:
Balancing short-term needs with long-term vision was crucial for this rapidly scaling business. Resource constraints demanded strategic prioritization. Addressing urgent requirements like launching new collaborations quickly could compromise long-term architectural stability and scalability, potentially hindering future integration and codebase sustainability.
Technologies:
Proficient in Ruby (versions 2 and 3), Ruby on Rails (versions 4 to 7), AWS, Heroku, Redis, Tailwind CSS, JWT, and implementing microservices architectures.

Arik Meyer's Endorsement of Gilles Crofils
Second Bureau Logo

Second Bureau
Second Bureau was a French company that I founded with a partner experienced in the e-retail.
Rooted in agile methods, we assisted our clients in making or optimizing their internet presence - e-commerce, m-commerce and social marketing. Our multicultural teams located in Beijing and Paris supported French companies in their ventures into the Chinese market

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