Fleur Pellerin, patron of the class of 2022, meets with the future engineers of EPITA!
Do you know what Bitfury, Vestiaire Collective, Ledger, Devialet and Jobteaser have in common? In addition to being flagship companies in the tech industry, all of these firms have Korelya Capital as an investor. This fund management company was co-founded by Fleur Pellerin, former French Minister of Digital Economy and Culture from 2012 to 2014. The driving force behind the creation of French Tech, and a keen observer of the new technology sector, she has agreed to be the patron of EPITA’s Class of 2022. Fleur Pellerin visited the school’s Paris campus, on Tuesday, January 18 to discover some of the projects worked on by students in the various majors and, above all, to speak with future engineers!
Philippe Dewost, Chief Executive Officer of EPITA and Claire Lecocq,
Assistant Managing Director and Director of EPITA Paris, were on hand to present the campus
What a role does an engineer play in the tech sector you work with on a daily basis? Why did you agree to become the patron of the outgoing EPITA class?
Fleur Pellerin: A major role! Most of the founders of the companies in which I have invested have an engineering background. Of course, there are also people from business schools, but above all, engineers. In the Tech sector, many ideas come from engineers. However, what I find particularly interesting is the combination of different skills and qualities, with, for example, an engineering profile, depicted as geeky, a more business-oriented one and another more design-oriented. This is a great combination!
Why did you agree to become the patron of the outgoing EPITA class?
Fleur Pellerin: It’s very important to stay in touch with young people, particularly those who are about to enter the workforce. Moreover, EPITA has an excellent reputation, and is known for training extremely competent people who are highly sought after on the job market – the entrepreneurs with whom I regularly speak have confirmed this on more than one occasion! Being a patron gives me the opportunity to see how they work and study, as well as learn how they view the future, which professions they want to go into, which technologies and sectors appeal to them…
Arnaud Lemettre (left), head of the MTI major and project manager of the school’s 3ie laboratory
and Laurent Trébulle (right), director of corporate relations, took part in the discussions
As an engineer or the head of an investment fund, is it essential to stay abreast of technological developments?
Fleur Pellerin: Yes, and it’s very exciting. It’s even my favorite part of the job! As Korelya Capital does not specialize in any particular sector, I have a wide range of entrepreneurs who regularly come and present their companies… This allows me to stay in touch with the real world, as well as the world of tomorrow, which is continually being invented… And even if my job mainly concerns investment in the so-called “growth” phase, i.e., for companies that are already quite mature, I always speak with young entrepreneurs who could potentially be of interest to me in a few years. This allows me to constantly discover technological or incremental innovations, uses, breakthroughs, etc. It is exciting and it allows me to feel young, as my intellectual curiosity is constantly stimulated, and to better understand the world around us.
As a seasoned observer, is there a technology or trend that you particularly find interesting at the moment?
Fleur Pellerin: As an investor in blockchain, I must admit that I pay close attention to the NFTs. Not all the hype surrounding the “Bored Apes” – I don’t really believe in the interest of NFTs in art – but rather for everything related to the decentralization of finance or the traceability of contracts and property titles. As such, NFTs are an extremely relevant technology for many industries, and I think that we will be seeing numerous interesting and fascinating developments. Of course, there will also be futile and, unfortunately, fraudulent applications. But I am convinced that visionaries will intelligently use this technology to create remarkable things. That’s why I’m very interested in this subject today, even if, at first glance, it’s not an easy technology to crack: you have to make an effort at the beginning to understand and grasp it. But these efforts are definitely worth it!
Fleur Pellerin was able to discover the final projects of students in four majors…
… and visit the ACU laboratory, where knowledge is shared, and ties are built between classes at EPITA!
Finally, what advice would you give to EPITA students?
Fleur Pellerin: To remain very agile! EPITA’s teaching method enables its students to learn throughout their lives, and that’s extremely positive: the world is changing so rapidly that today’s and tomorrow’s generations will undoubtedly have to juggle several professions throughout their lives. It is therefore very important to remain open to new opportunities and seize them when they arise by being able to constantly learn new skills. Nowadays, we talk about agility all the time, and rightly so: it is an essential soft skill because these students will most likely have to change their career path several times.
For example, to become an entrepreneur?
Fleur Pellerin: Why not? That would make me very happy!