The 32-year-old is the head of a French technology group that is developing tools to speed up the learning process for self-driving cars. Bruno Mendes da Silva co-founded Heex Technologies in 2019, with Etienne Boutan, a young banker convinced of the promises of “smart data”. They both embark on an adventure and are a crack in the field, Arnaud de la Fortelle. Of course, it is necessary to impress this technical technician, head for fifteen years at the Robotics Laboratory at Mines ParisTech. But Bruno Mendes da Silva, who grew up in the Val-Fury town of Mant-la-Jolie (Evelyn) isn’t afraid of challenges.
Since then, Heex has also managed to attract investors. It raised €2 million last year from Bpifrance, Tomcat Factory, Wilco, Transvalor and several business sponsors. The company has participated in Nvidia and Microsoft programs for self-driving vehicles. She was backed by Google through a fund dedicated to the best black and European entrepreneurs.
Coming from a family of 6 children, Bruno Mendes da Silva strives to “be proud” of his parents from Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. Still a high school student, he was spotted by professionals on the basketball courts in Mant and joined the development center at Club Rouen, 500 kilometers from his home. Then “discover France” from the top of his double meter, according to the matches of the national championship. But he was not able to become a professional in the United States, so he joined Essec, which he financed through a student loan. “I got good grades and my athletic background gave me confidence.”
After returning from an internship in China in 2012, he launched Greenlux Car, an electric car rental company in Paris, thanks to a bank loan and the support of his family. In 2016, he sold his shares, and, with a few tens of thousands of euros in his pocket, he chose to deal with other entrepreneurs at an incubator in California. “In humility,” he says. I learned and developed my own network.”
Today, installed under a large glass roof, at its headquarters in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, Heex Technologies has 20 employees and should draw up in a year or two, or … be bought. His boss says he has a “chance to discover the rules of the business”. He advocates diversity in entrepreneurship: “Exemplary roles are important in the success of young people. In addition to football and rap, which few people will have the opportunity to practice professionally, you also need examples in business. He could be one of those.
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The starting point of French technology, competition for startups in the neighborhood
The French Tech Tremplin competition, aimed at business creators from priority neighborhoods in the city and rural revitalization areas, has two parts. The Prépa program is aimed at those who want to create a startup and want to explore the digital ecosystem for a period of two months. The “incubation” component, with a grant of 30 thousand euros, interests him, and the leaders of start-ups have already been created. Selection of candidates on file. See you this summer to apply for Prépa and at the end of the year for custody.
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