TOP10 : MY FAVORITE FRENCH WOMEN IN TECH, THE « FRENCH TOUCH » IN THE SILICON VALLEY.
The Silicon Valley is appealing to people from all over the world, who aspire to have an impact on society.
You assume this is a diverse environment, and yet it’s tough to be a woman in the Silicon Valley. Things are changing with greater awareness.
I believe the best way to give confidence, is to put forward role models. Not the top 5 stars that we see in every magazine, in every blog or live broadcast. There are other great leaders.
Why choose Women in Tech coming from France?
Some say it’s hard to find enough incredible female leaders in technology.
I read many articles in France or in the US about great male entrepreneurs. I believe we should show it’s possible to be successful as a Woman and as an Expatriate, and not being called « the CEO’s wife » as one of them was joking.
All of them are assertive and independent women, they have made the effort to work in the local ecosystem (i.e. not expats), which is the hard way. All of them had moments of doubt about their professional or personal life, but they made it!
I’ve been lucky enough to meet them, whether for a morning green tea, sharing sushi during a lunch break, or enjoying a lively diner. Some of them came a decade ago, others more recently.
Let’s share the portraits of amazing women!
Pascale Diaine. Storm VC. The new seed stage tech investor, believing in her founders.
Storm Ventures is a Silicon Valley based VC firm focused on building Enterprises Leaders, as the first or early investor.
Before being a sharp investor, Pascale has been the lead manager for Orange Fab, accelerator program in San Francisco that supports US-based startups, partnering with key corporations, and she has also worked before for the R&D Division, engineer by her background, passionate about computer science for many years.
She came in the Silicon Valley more than ten years ago, and love living here, based in Soma – the startups district, connected to every people and communities. People matter to her. She’s also a high profile in kite surfing, her activity during sunny week-ends when the wind is back in April.
Servane Demol, Founder of Code for Fun. The non profit leader, embracing diversity and training the new generation to code.
Code for Fun is a non-profit organization committed to exposing students, especially girls, to computer science and early stage, to help grow the next generation of engineers.
Servane has been one of the first employees at Facebook, and worked with the Business Applications group in IT.
She lives with her children and husband (she’s married to a neird as she says) in Fremont, where she has begun to help schools and start her first Summer Camps.
She works close the new Xavier Niel’s school, Ecole 42 (private and tuition-free computer programming school), as the team was supporting her initiative and welcome her in their offices.
Cécile Schmollgruber. Stéréolabs. The startup founder betting on emerging trends.
Stereolabs is the leading provider of 3D depth and motion sensing technology based on stereo vision.
It has just launched a high-definition and low-cost 3D camera, the ZED, associated with a software that allows to reproduce these images. The idea is to reproduce human vision, in order to allow machines to «see» in 3D, says Cécile Schmollgruber, the founder of Stereolabs moved to San Francisco last year.
Very useful features for drones, vehicles without drivers, some connected objects, cartography, 3D video creation. Tech excellence and innovation …Future is bright for the startup and her founder (featuring in Vanity Fair, and Inc. 30 Inspirational Women to watch in Tech in 2017), now also a young mother, living in San Mateo.
Anne Bezançon Founder and President Placecast. The globe trotter and serial data entrepreneur.
Placecast is the leading enterprise-grade platform for data management and display advertising, with mobile location data.
Anne is a pioneer in the online industry and has an impressive track record in executive management and strategic implementation in communications and computing (she built the leading directory of public wi-fi hotspots from scratch prior to her company Placecast founded in 2005).
She lived in NYC before moving to the Bay Area, she loves to come to work in the city (Hayes Valley district) with her motorbike, coming from her peaceful home in Oakland, the new place to be.
Roxane Divol. EVP and General Manager Symantec. The top cyber security exec.
Symantec is the world’s leading cyber security company.
As a GM, she’s responsible for the end-to-end leadership and growth of the Website Security business, she also leads the creation and development our cyber-insurance offerings and partnerships.
Tough job, in a competitive market and a male-dominated engineering culture, where we can be proud to see a successful woman. She works in the Financial District. She loves living in the Bay with her family.
Elsa Jungman. PhD (analytical chemistry), leader of the beauty revolution to come.
Elsa is Product Manager at AOBiome, pioneering bacterial therapy for the skin through skin care rituals and products. The line is called « MotherDirt », name that puts forward we’re too harsh with our skin. Before working for the biotech company, Elsa has worked a few years at L’Oréal.
She lives in the pretty Noe Valley district and works in Dogpatch (the other rising startups district). She often escapes the summer week-ends in Santa Cruz (San Francisco being foggy) with her husband and friends.
Frédérique Dame. The Chief Product Officer. The unicorn exec mastering product.
Frédérique has been in the Silicon Valley for fifteen years. She’s the independent director of Ubisoft Entertainment, and she joined Uber in its very beginnings, hiring and training people to contribute to the company’s huge growth.
Prior to Uber, where she led various roles across the company, she held several roles in different startups and worked at Yahoo! where she has been the head of product management.
Her slim and elegant silhouette says it all: she has definitely adopted the Californian way of life, and is still proud of her French roots!
Géraldine Lemeur. Entrepreneur, Angel, a new Venture cross Atlantic.
Based in San Francisco for ten years Géraldine founded LeWeb (co-founded with Loic, gathering 3000 entrepreneurs, brands, investors in Paris).
She has invested in many companies as an Angel Investor, and has great editorials in France about her accomplishments.
Her latest venture, The Refiners, is a foreign founders program to help non-American entrepreneurs to thrive globally starting from the Silicon Valley. Saas, cloud, AI, have no secret for her, and she likes advise and coach startups with her two male co-founders.
She is the proud mother of three boys and lives in San Francisco. And she likes bridging Californian and French culture, connecting people for the best.
Chantal Buard. Mission driven to impact the world. Change maker.
Chantal is the Chief Digital Officer Amplifier, in business to unleash human potential and create happiness.
As a non-profit, her goal is to create systems change and help philanthropists, charities and foundations to have better results.
So yes, her mission is modern philanthropy to solve the toughest social and environmental challenges, but uniquely structured to scale proven solutions.
When she’s not in a cross-cultural learning journey, she makes sure that the multi-disciplinary team (data scientists, designers, developers) is working from idea to impact!
She has been a Californian for many years, and lives with her partner and son in Corona Heights district in San Francisco (lucky to be her neighbor).
Yseulys Costes. The visionnary data scientist, entrepreneur Cross Atlantic.
Yseulys is very famous in France, as a board member of key corporations, and the Founder of Numberly (1000mercis), a listed company.
She has written numerous books and articles on online marketing and data bases. She loves algorithms and maths. She’s also passionate about platforms and retail and helps her customers to improve their performance, connecting the dots, with a programmatic and multichannel approach.
She came in 2014 in the Silicon Valley to develop the Group’s US activities.
She lives in Palo Alto with her three children and husband, travels a lot and still take the time to welcome French people in unforgettable diners. She came two years ago for one year, and I guess we should enjoy seeing them for a few more.
So, to all young startups founders or want to be investors calling me from France, or coming to grab a coffee at my home (or in my preferred place 111 Minna Gallery, with great exhibitions showing female artists by the way), trust yourself !
Discovering what these 10 « Frenchies » have accomplished, when I asked them their advice to all women, they all said: «Choose your path, and just decide to be the best at what you do. Everything is possible. If I could do it, you can do it».
I love their energy and drive. I’m honored to have met them and to count some as friends.
They make it with the « French touch ». Natural elegance is still putting high heels or black boots in a AI and machine learning meet-up, keeping the little black dress and red lipstick in a party, even if it could be perceived as overdressed or original.
In their way, they assert their difference, they’re forward-thinking leaders, and they try to make the world a better place.
Embracing diversity helps generate more new ideas and innovation.
Join us in the adventure. See you soon in San Francisco!