Canada's Potloc takes e-commerce site to France, eyes US market

After raising 800,000 euros of in capital funds, Canada's Potloc, a start-up which specialises in the study of markets and retail trade via local citizens, has landed in France with its first office in Lille.  

The major challenge for trade in recent years has been to combat the desertification of inner cities and to encourage their revitalisation. According to a recent Trade Federation study, the average commercial vacancy rate in French cities in 2015 was 9.5%, a figure which is only increasing, as seen in the vacancy jump from 7.2% in 2012.

Potloc founders, Rodolphe Barrère and Louis Delaoustre, are interested in solving this problem and have given power back to the local people. Via the Potloc platform, local residents can highlight the retailers and services they think are needed in their local areas including bars, cafes, bakeries or indeed, clothing stores -- even choosing the exact retail brand or label they want established nearby. 

The projects mentioned by residents via the platform are then used as data, which is transmitted to local municipalities, shopping malls, real estate developers and associated firms.

Today, Potloc boasts more than 100,000 users and claims to have influenced the opening of hundreds of stores and projects. 

Since coming to Lille in France, the Montreal start-up has already worked to bring together a commercial zone in Lomme, close to Lille.

The goal of the founders from here on in is to launch in the United States, on the back of a new round of fundraising expected to come through in future months. 

Translated by Benjamin Fitzgerald

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