Following her first visit earlier this year, former French Minister Mme. Fleur Pellerin arrived in Taiwan again for the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT). Although no longer Minister of SMEs, Innovation, and the Digital Economy, the first Madame of La French Tech continues to shine through her position as CEO of Korelya Capital.
Here she explains the rationales behind Korelya’s investment strategy and how they apply to some of the more prominent startups on their portfolio. She also evaluates possible ways of deepening ties between Europe and Asia, with Taiwanese and French collaborations in particular being a focus.
Korelya’s strategies and vision
Mme. Pellerin,CEO and founder of Korelya, focuses on tech startups. As she sees it, technology is the key to shape the future. Her ability to convince others of her vision is allowing her to make great strides already. According to a Financial Time report, Mme. Pellerin raised over $120m from Korean web giant Naver for Deep Tech-focused research on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, or Machine Learning exclusive to Europe.
Only one year after its creation, Korelya has acquired four direct investments for French startups ABtasty, Devialet, Jobteaser, and Snips already. Devialet, known for its groundbreaking speakers that even French wunderkind president Macron is a fan of, was the first startup to obtain a direct investment from Korelya Capital.
Thanks to its ADH Intelligence technology, which is short for Analog Digital Hybrid, the speaker company wants to preserve the precision of traditional amplifiers while enhancing it with digital technology.
Although founded in 2007 and already an established company by all means, Devialet still garnered interest from Mme. Pellerin. As she explains, Korelya can invest not only in early-stage startups, but also more matured ones such as Devialet. “There are two main investment approaches,” Mme. Pellerin shows. The first is focused on finding tomorrow’s champions. In this regard, the Korelya team scouts technology startups for those with global boom potential.
The other approach looks for the gatekeepers of tomorrow. According to Mme. Pellerin, Korelya is actively investing in early- stage tech startups that are not ready for the market right now but exhibit potential. For instance, such companies could work in Machine Learning and AI, i.e. fields where success may not yet be fathomable and products have not yet surpassed the concept stage.
Korelya and Taiwan: Future Connections
One of Korelya’s main goals is to build a bridge between Europe and Asia. Since it is her second time here, Mme. Pellerin had more time to explore Taiwan.
Asked whether she sees specific advantage of the island nation, Mme. Pellerin emphatically answered “Definitely yes!”
“Taiwan is a gate to Southeast Asia and China with plenty of motivated entrepreneurs,” she explained. Korelya thus hopes to create more contacts and acquire more companies for its portfolio here in the future.
For now, the cooperation with Naver demands that Korelya invests only in European startups. But for someone as sharp as Mme. Pellerin, another solution for cooperation is already taking shape.
More precisely, Korelya recently decided to rent office space at Station F in Paris, which is the biggest startup campus in the world. “We could discuss collaboration with incubators such as Appworks, or directly with the Taiwanese government. If there are Taiwanese startups interested in exploring the European market, Korelya would be more than happy to assist in networking,” Mme. Pellerin promises.
Mme. Pellerin is also optimistic that in the near future both of her investment approaches can be applied to the Taiwanese market and its new breed of companies.
Trust yourself and be ambitious!
Mme. Pellerin’s remarkable career and personal experiences have kindled worldwide interest in her inspiring story. Asked by BNext about her mentor, the outspoken CEO confessed that she does not have anyone fitting in that role in her life. This should not imply, she insists, that she does not benefit from others. But Mme. Pellerin believes that one’s motivation is crucial for success. As her life story shows, this philosophy keeps on proving her right.
Before finishing the interview, Mme. Pellerin gave one more powerful encouragement to the next generation of entrepreneurs: “Do not limit yourself, but rather have the ambition to surpass your goals!”