French Tech: the 10 women to follow in 2023

Posted on Jan 16, 2023, 8:51 am

10 years, 100 women. Since 2013, the Sista collective, which aims to close the funding gap between French Tech founders and founders, has published a list of ten women to follow in tech.

This year is special because the association decided to include not only women entrepreneurs and investors, but also women with key positions in large start-ups. Here is their ranking, in alphabetical order.

Vera Baker, Partner at Unconventional Ventures

American based in Paris for ten years, Vera Baker is a partner at Unconventional Ventures, a Danish fund whose thesis is to invest in underrepresented founders and founders in the European technological ecosystem.

With a resume the size of her arm, she multiplied her experiences in the world of venture capital (Atomico, January Ventures, Jua Fund…) and even created the newsletter “For Color girls who tech”. The latter highlights the main entrepreneurs of the American, European and African ecosystems.

Before entering the world of finance, Vera Baker was active in politics in the United States, notably in the Senate as Chief of Staff.

Celine Chung, co-founder of Bao Family

“Little Bao” will become big. In 2018, Céline Chung embarked on the entrepreneurial path by co-founding Bao-Family, a chain of restaurants specializing in Chinese cuisine. Five years later, three new addresses are sold out, while a bakery and a delivery also expand the “family”.

After growing up with one foot in each culture, the French-Chinese young man studied business and settled for three years at Wavestone as a consultant. There she takes special care of digital transformation projects within the CAC 40 groups. Unhappy in this universe that she finds uniform and rigid, she leaves everything to become a waitress and later joins the teams of the famous Paris New York restaurant as “chief of staff”. , before transforming the test.

Saskia Fiszel, co-founder of Virgil

Saskia Fiszel, co-founder of Virgil.DR

“Breaking the stone ceiling. It is with this mantra in mind that Saskia Fiszel co-founded Virgil in 2018, a start-up specializing in real estate investment assistance for young people. Four years later, it raised fifteen million euros thanks to fundraising.

Falling into the real estate pot thanks to Onefinestay, which he joined in 2013, a few months after its launch, he participated in the European conquest of the start-up until its resale to Accor for 150 million euros. A graduate of Sciences Po Paris, ESSEC and the University of North Carolina in the United States, she also made some early career inroads at Publicis and L’Oréal.

Saskia Fiszel is also the creator of Spoune, a newsletter to help younger generations become financially independent. It shows 50,000 subscribers at the counter and a 50% open rate.

Tara Heuzé-Sarmini, co-founder and CEO of Commune

“We want to help working moms and single dads breathe,” Tara Heuzé-Sarmini told “Echos Start” a few months ago. In 2021, the Swiss army knife entrepreneur is launching Commune, the first living company dedicated to single parents. In 2022, it concludes a funding round of 1.5 million euros to finance the opening of the first two residences, scheduled for this year.

A brilliant student – with high honors in the baccalaureate of Henri-IV, graduated from the universities of Cambridge in England and Columbia in New York – Tara Heuzé-Sarmin lit a first spark in France when she founded Rules Elementary, the first association to fight against menstrual precariousness and Glouglou, a start-up that offers reusable water bottles.

With less than thirty years old, she already collects awards in France and abroad. In addition to being selected among the 30 under 30s who will change France by the “Vanity Fair”, she is one of the 35 responsible leaders under 35 according to the Planeta Positivo Foundation x “Les Echos Start”.

Léa Joussaume, vice president in charge of operations at Luko

In eight years of career, Léa Joussaume has worked in three startups. The first, Wine Passport, specialized in wine trips and weekends, where he was a handyman. Then, she accesses Mon Docteur, a website for scheduling medical appointments acquired by Doctolib in 2018. This time, she focuses on communication.

But the big Doctolib machine didn’t sit well with him. That’s why the young woman quickly left the French unicorn and ended up with Luko. At the time, the French insurtech specializing in home insurance had fewer than ten employees.

She rediscovered the “start-up spirit” and the jack of all trades side for a year. She then takes on the communication and branding disciplines that enable Luko to primarily achieve organic growth. In September 2022, she was named vice president of start-up operations and manages a team of around fifty start-ups.

Julia Néel Biz, co-founder and CEO of Teale

Julia Néel Biz, co-founder and CEO of Teale.

Julia Néel Biz, co-founder and CEO of Teale.DR

Faced with a painful family drama, Julia Néel Biz, then vice president of VTC Freenow, made it her mission to change this paradigm and co-created Teale in January 2021, a mental health platform for companies.

The sector, boosted by the pandemic, is booming, but funding remains modest compared to Anglo-Saxon or Nordic countries.

This Essec graduate also directed Untold, a documentary series that aims to “shatter the image of the superhero leader who must always be okay, and demonstrate, on the contrary, that there is a form of strength and courage to accept your vulnerability”, explains Is it over there.

In their eyes, physical health monopolizes attention, but mental health is often overlooked. Very involved in the French technological ecosystem, she is also on the board of directors of France Digitale, an association that brings together French start-ups and investors.

Clotilde Rousseau, Chief Revenue Officer at Batch

Clotilde Rousseau, Revenue Director at Batch.

Clotilde Rousseau, Revenue Director at Batch.DR

“Profitability” has become the watchword for start-ups. The weight of Clotilde Rousseau, Chief Revenue Officer at Batch (CRO), a start-up specializing in sending mobile and web notifications, therefore becomes increasingly strategic.

It’s not to scare this 30-year-old young man who took a higher education course with the seal of excellence (Science Po Paris, HEC, one-year exchange in California) and worked at Adomik, before joining Batch in 2019.

As part of her work, the 30-year-old follows like milk on the fire the company’s cash inflows, which raised 20 million euros in 2021 and identifies new potential sources of revenue. A demanding job in an economic context where the shadow of recession looms and marked by greater investor reluctance.

Maud Sarda, co-founder of Label Emmaüs

Maud Sarda, co-founder of Label Emmaüs.

Maud Sarda, co-founder of Label Emmaüs.DR

The social and solidarity economy anchored to the body, we regularly hear it rebelling against the greenwashing epidemic. Co-founder of Label Emmaüs in 2016, “the online extension of the Emmaüs fight and a true counter-model to the giants of e-commerce”, Maud Sarda also enables people in situations of exclusion to train in e-commerce professions.

The cooperative already employs 60 employees, a third of whom are in the process of being integrated, and 1,400 have been trained in online sales.

Before embarking on entrepreneurship, this Edhec graduate spent 5 years at Emmaüs and Accenture. In addition to her professional activities, Maud Sarda is also a member of the board of directors of Mouvement Impact France (the movement of social entrepreneurs) and is one of the “leading voices of LinkedIn” 2022.

Marguerite de Tavernost, Ledger Cathay Fund investor

Graduated from the London School of Economics and Kings College, Marguerite de Tavernost started her career in London in digital strategy consultancy for large groups. She then multiplied her experiences in British funds and start-ups before joining the Berlin fund Cherry Ventures.

Since August 2022, she has been an investor in the Web3 fund launched by Ledger and Cathay. She is also a professional photographer and creator of NFT.

Dounia Wone, Director of Environment and Inclusion at Vestiaire Collective

Dounia Wone is clearly not one of the clones of French technology. No high school education except for an aborted language license, a modest childhood, a professional start as a stopover agent at Air France and most of his career in the political world, among ecologists.

In 2020, the young woman was enticed by the private sector and chose to pursue the much-hyped profession of “chief impact & include” within the French unicorn Vestiaire Collective. The 36-year-old leads environmental and diversity strategies internally and externally with a small team of four.

Among his works, the following stand out: openings in day care centers for young parents, the creation of “tasks” on various topics (LGBT+, women, parents, etc.). And, more recently, the gradual banning of fast fashion on the platform, in addition to lobbying operations to promote the circular economy.

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