Sabé Masson. Beyond this charming name, you’ll find a world populated by Zazou, Belle Furieuse, Parisian Rhapsody, Macadam Paz and many other mysterious characters with their own distinctive scents....
An unknown universe to some, Big Data is music to the ears of mathematician Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan. Clustree is the creative solution she came up with, and it’s become one of the rising stars of the French Tech world. She describes it as a tool for analysis founded on artificial intelligence has taken the world of recrutement and human resources by storm. It all began when Bénédicte left her position in strategy consultancy and set off in search of a new profession. In doing so she analysed 500 CVs and developed an algorithm capable of extracting the candidates’ skills. The aim was to promote transversality, diversity of careers and above all, to put and end to stereotypes. L’Oréal, SNCF and le Crédit Agricole are amongst the businesses that have already been convinced by the ingenuity of the system Bénédicte has set up. Most recently, she has received a generous investment from European Funding organisation Créandum, and is set to firmly establish the start-up in France before preparing to take it to the international scene. It appears nothing can stop Clustree from growing strength to strength, a success story that sounds like it’s been written for a Hollywood film. Entrepreneurship requires passion and creativity, two things which Bénédicte certainly possesses and has integrated into her daily life. And you don’t have to look far to see this enthusiasm in the way she describes the latest creation of her partner Mathieu. A magician when it comes to handy-work, this passionate ‘neo-designer’ of eco-construction is the creative mind behind the immense wardrobe in their bedroom, the shelving unit in the kitchen and a series of light fixtures, each of which are a work of art in themselves. Let us introduce you to this fascinating entrepreneur.
To read more about the amazing adventure of Clustree, click here.
How would you describe yourself, Bénédicte?
I’m a passionate entrepreneur who had an atypical career path before discovering that business had always excited me and that I wanted to totally devote myself to it. I studied maths at university, volunteering for organisations involved in the social and community economy and advising on strategy. Since then, I have founded Clustree, an artificial intelligence startup for human resources departments, that I operate with enthusiasm and determination surrounded by a team of around twenty people.
How did you come up with the idea for this project?
I like diversity. So after four years in consultancy, I felt in need of another change of direction. However, my atypical career path prevented me from imagining the full range of possibilities open to me. So, then I had the idea of manually analysing other people’s career paths (500 CVs!) to find my next job. That’s when it dawned on me that human resources, whose core business this is, weren’t doing it. They weren’t using the reality of the data to make the best decisions.
What was your aim in creating Clustree?
I wanted to solve this problem and help HR to make fast, innovative decisions using the data, in a context where professions are constantly reinventing themselves. Above all, I wanted to put the data and algorithms at the service of a more human human resources function. Doing away with stereotypes and received ideas about profiles and careers. Showing that the range of possibilities is wide, that transversality should be promoted in career paths and the diversity of profiles.
I wanted a short name that would be understood anywhere in the world. It’s a blend of Cluster (after the clusters of data that we analyse) and Tree (after decision trees, but most of all because career paths are like trees and their branches). Does the fact that you’re a woman, and a young woman at that, change anything in the world of business? When I get up in the morning I don’t think of myself as a woman. I get up thinking that I’m an entrepreneur who wants to take her business a long way and I think about how I’m going to do that. It’s the things that we do that define the person that we are. Not the other way round. Of course, being women makes us more visible because there aren’t that many of us yet. We need more female entrepreneurs so that one day it will no longer be necessary to emphasise that it’s possible. We have to stop putting up barriers for ourselves because women are as ambitious and have the same means to do it as men.
How do you see Clustree in the future?
Our plan is to make Clustree a world player, a complete and universal solution able to provide HR recommendations based on the entire cycle of a member of staff, thanks to artificial intelligence. To achieve that, we’re planning international expansion from next year.
Which woman inspires you most?
Marie Curie. Because of the drive and absolute determination that she had and that nothing was going to stop. Because of the courage she had during the war, to leave for the front on her own with her x-ray machine, to help the surgeons.
How long have you been living here?
I’ve been living in this apartment for 18 months now. But Mathieu has lived here for years. This apartment has changed over time and with different lifestyles
Who’s responsible for the interior design?
It’s a shared project. Sometimes we don’t agree, but when it comes down to it, we have the same feel for certain lines, colours and materials.
Where do you buy your furniture?
We love Le Cube Rouge, a shop in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. Recently, I fell in love at first sight with an armchair made in 1960 by Charles Godillon and produced in a limited edition of 100 in collaboration with Le Cube Rouge and a shipwright. Trips to Japan and Scandinavia are also very inspiring when it comes to furniture. Otherwise, we pick stuff up from flea markets, the Druot auction house and Le Bon Coin.
Tell us about your partner and his new project?
Mathieu has always been deeply concerned about the impact of our society on the environment. Now, he has launched a company that promotes eco-construction and the deconstruction of buildings in order to reuse the materials in new constructions. Their objective is to promote the reuse of materials in a circuit that is as short as possible and with as little processing as possible. A more virtuous cycle, to put it in a nutshell. In parallel, he has a design project (mpa-studio), some of whose designs are in our apartment. The objects that he designs and produces are also intended to be made from reused or even organically sourced or recycled materials.
Which are your favourite objects here?
My favourite things are those that I have an emotional attachment to. The ones that I’m proudest of are those made by people that I love, because I find part of them and their soul in those objects. Of course, there’s Mathieu’s series of lamps. I find it both pure and powerful. The marvellous drawings from “Nous y Sommes”, the hours of work, the millions of dots each next to the others that gradually produce an image that becomes clearer and clearer. In a way, they represent the way our life is. Lastly, Kakko’s ceramic pebbles. The work of this pair of artists is refined and subversive. I like the elements that seem simple at first glance, but the depth of which is pluralist.
Is there a work that you dream of purchasing?
An etching by Pierre Soulages, or one of Bernard Plossu’s Italian travel photos.
Do you have a favourite place that you’d recommend to The Socialite Family community?
The Moonshiner bar, in the 11th arrondissement. It’s a speakeasy. The time we spend there is very special, cut off from the world.
My favourite things are those that I have an emotional attachment to. The ones that I'm proudest of are those made by people that I love, because I find part of them and their soul in those objects.
Credits: Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily