Paris, Luxembourg and Silicon Valley: Itinerary of a Woman Entrepreneur

I created MyScienceWork in 2010, just a few months after presenting my thesis on cancer-fighting nanotechnologies. As soon as I'd put on my new hat as a 28-year-old entrepreneur, I hired my first employees in Paris. I was already very involved in promoting women in science and wanted to get into the world of female entrepreneurship right away.

Paris Pionnières was our first incubator. To promote women entrepreneurs, we established a basic criterion of having at least one woman on the team of founders. We had some nice successes, such as Leetchi, Envie de Fraises and many others. Participating in awards for innovative projects spearheaded by women also opened doors for me. The network of women entrepreneurs in France is powerful and growing fast. As soon as we launched our science careers platform, we created a Women in Science section, where we were able to work with the L’Oréal Foundation's For Women In Science programme.

2012 was a big year: l left for Luxembourg and we received investment from the Edison Capital Partners fund and an Innovative Start-up grant from the Luxembourg government. New country, new culture. I noticed one thing right away: there seemed to be a far smaller percentage of woman entrepreneurs than in France. I spent countless evening business events among groups there were 99% men. Still, initiatives are proliferating and point to a sharp increase in the percentage of women creating companies in Luxembourg. It’s an incredible country in terms of promoting start-ups, but mentalities there could still stand to be updated.

Funded by the Luxembourg government, we were selected to spend three months studying the international Plug&Play programme, in Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley. By then, MyScienceWork had become a team of 15 working in Paris, Luxembourg and in the San Francisco Bay Area. What an adventure! We'd come a long way.

In April 2014, we gave the first major presentation of the company in Silicon Valley to an auditorium of more than 600 people. Thirty start-ups carefully chosen to present their projects to an audience of investors, journalists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, with Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, as guest speaker. Of the 30 start-ups, only MyScienceWork was represented by a woman. I couldn’t believe it… A Belgian who has been living in the area for just over a year tells me that he can count on one hand the number of presentations made by woman entrepreneurs the year before. I’ve heard the same thing from different sources, but it just seems unreal. How can such an intellectually, technologically and financially advanced place be so close-minded?

Promoting MyScienceWork as a woman has always been an advantage. I stand out. I definitely plan to keep going, to get more involved in the world of women's investment funds and to keep strengthening my network in it. MyScienceWork is a portal intended to make science more accessible in terms of research relevance, scientific understanding for a wider audience and access to scientific publications for those who have been kept at arm’s length, such as independent researchers, scientists working at small companies, science reporters and science lovers. 

The MyScienceWork commitment is powerful and we have big plans. I want to change the way we understand the world of science. Doing that while being a role model as a woman entrepreneur will just be the icing on the cake.  

For Women in Science

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