Nottingham firm's role in a new era for France10 May 2012
It was 'le text wot won it' - at least in the eyes of a Nottingham technology firm.
For Esendex, of Wollaton Street, supplied the specialist messaging service used by new French President Francois Hollande to keep in touch with voters.
President Hollande was elected on Sunday, his Socialist Party using text messaging to explain policies to voters, tell party workers where his rallies were and keep track of which way the vote was swinging on election day.
The French election contract is the latest in a series of high-profile continental contracts won by Esendex.
It has also been hired to provide texting services to the Tour de France, the Le Mans 24 Hour race and the French Tennis open.
"It'll be used to tell the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal when they need to be on court," said Geoff Love, the chief commercial officer of Esendex.
Esendex supplied text messaging software services to a number of high-profile firms including Specsavers and the British Airports Authority.
Typically, its services can be used by businesses to remind staff and customers about important appointments.
But Mr Love says their use by Francois Hollande shows how they can be used more widely by any business or organisation which wants to keep in regular contact with large numbers of people.
"Social media is becoming an increasingly important way for politicians and parties to engage with voters, with e-mail and Twitter in regular use.
"But the beauty of communicating by text is that it is simple and reliable. People carry their mobile phones with them everywhere and while e-mail can't always get through, text can.
"We first started working with Francois Hollande during their primaries last Autumn when he was adopted as the Socialist candidate and it carried on to the main election.
"He was using our services to tell voters about key parts of his policy platform and to inform supporters where he was campaigning.
"But it was also used on election night itself to keep his party headquarters in Paris informed of voting trends."
Esendex was formed in 2001 by University of Nottingham graduate Adam Bird and business colleague Julian Hucker.
It now employs 50 people at its city headquarters and looks set to take on up to 10 more people this year as it heads for a £10 million turnover.
They will include two German speakers as it mounts a push to develop more business in northern Europe.
Its southern European office - which covers France - is based in an office in Barcelona, Spain.
Mr Love said: "We have been growing at 50 per cent a year in Europe, though this is off a low base. Take-up of these services in Europe is running a bit behind the UK and the USA, which is why growth has been so strong. At the moment, Europe is only a tenth of the size of our UK business, but we think it has huge potential."