Having had to live and work abroad before I have learnt to adapt quickly to new situations which is useful in very fast growing company.
I was born in Oxford in the UK and lived there until I was 18. I then completed a French and Spanish degree at University College London, and did an Erasmus in Paris and Granada (south of Spain). I then came back to London to work in a company that provided market intelligence and recruitment services to private equity and venture capital. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it got me really interested in startups and high-growth companies. It also gave a little insight into the French startup scene but I’d really only heard of the big success stories (BlaBlaCar, Criteo, Neolane, etc): I had no idea of how vibrant and promising the French scene actually is.
I decided to move from London to join Chauffeur Privé in 2015, as my dream was to work abroad and to meet the challenge of working in a different language and a different culture. I didn’t really plan my relocation, I just looked for a company that seemed interesting and innovative. Chauffeur-Privé caught my attention because they were one of the only companies I could see in the European market at the time that were successfully standing up to Uber.
Although I was in a minority not being French at Chauffeur-Privé when I first joined, this is changing fast and I am really excited about this: I feel very lucky to work somewhere where international experience is valued and appreciated no matter how old you are. There are also lots of people here who have lived and worked abroad and who speak different languages, and that means that I immediately felt at home. Franglish is only one of the many languages spoken! Of course the French working culture is extremely different to the UK but I feel that having had to live and work abroad before I have learnt to adapt quickly to new situations which is useful in very fast growing company. Also living in a new country means that you may have been in challenging situations, which is very valuable in a startup environment where you often have to get to grips with tasks you may not be familiar with.
The French start-up system is growing very quickly and is becoming more international too, which is great for non-French speakers! I can see that it is being taken more and more seriously by the government and the authorities. However, the issue that I note is that France still isn’t coming around to the positive disruptiveness of some of the services being offered. Rules and regulations aren’t changing despite some popular support. We need many many more evangelists for the French startup scene and that is why I fully support #REVIENSLEON!