Founder and CEO of Ellcie Healthy, Philippe Peyrard and his team develop and market smart connected eyewear to better manage health, well-being and safety. This technology allows to analyse, in real time, the data measured by different sensors integrated in the frame. Philippe Peyrard is mentor of a project incubated within the X-Up class #12. He is not unfamiliar with the Polytechnique ecosystem thanks to his active network of contacts, which has enabled him to get to know projects with specifications compatible to his expertise.
Meeting with an entrepreneur, deeply « avant-gardist »!
What is entrepreneurship for you?
Entrepreneurship means taking up a subject and building a great story. It's a way of looking at the world of entrepreneurship but also at any field in which you are involved. I like to say that we are all entrepreneurs at heart. The aim of the "jeu or the "je" is that each and every one of us, at his or her workstation, is a micro-enterprise. Entrepreneurship is starting from an idea and ending up with a product or service, whether commercial or not".
What type of entrepreneur are you?
I think I am an entrepreneur who has ideas, reasoned intuitions supported by 40 years of experience in a career and relationships that I have nurtured over the years. Idealist but with a sufficient dose of realism, I naturally take on the role of catalyst within a collective entity in order to mobilise the positive energies of each individual. I always have one objective in mind; the realisation of projects, which are sometimes difficult to carry out, without being driven by optimism in the face of the eternal relentlessness.
What have been, for you, the key stages in your career?
Training, an irreplaceable gift
I was able to access the most beautiful capital that one can benefit from; a double training; on one hand, within the educational system on selected subjects such as law, management, finance, completed by a course under the flag as a cadet and on the other hand, within the framework of the L'Oréal nursery of people with potential which constituted a real second school for my part. Destined to be a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen, the L'Oréal adventure caught up with me when I accepted this immersion within this international promotion with its heterogeneous profiles, which has been a fabulous springboard for the rest of my career.
We were in the 1980s, and the still nascent notion of networking was one of the reasons for these promotions; sharing, learning from the experience of others, gaining access to disruptive business personalities such as, at the source of L'Oréal, François Dalle, then Chairman of the group, and many other personalities.
6 very rewarding years were spent within the L'Oréal group, with changes of position every year, both as management controller, sales administrator, sales representative and sales director.
The beginning of a business creation process
For a little over 3 years, I devoted myself to the creation of the luxury subsidiary of the French eyewear group L'Amy. I put into practice all my knowledge in terms of strategies that I was able to analyse and control during my previous positions.
Entrepreneurship is a natural choice
A desire for independence, a search for experimentation, a taste for self-entrepreneurship; a winning combination that gave birth to my first "PPCD" company, « Philippe Peyrard conseils et développements ». I work for several luxury brands such as Benetton, Reebok, Nina Ricci which has been a flagship experience in terms of developing new "Product" concepts such as interchangeability in jewellery with Nina Ricci watches.
Aiming for innovation
I joined the eyewear manufacturer Atol as General Manager. Interchangeability, connected glasses to locate oneself, a marketing combination of "advertising" and "entertainment" to humanise the brand and reach as many people as possible have all been innovations that have marked my career within this group and that have consolidated the rest of my career.
Consistency of a career path linked to entrepreneurship and innovation: birth of the start-up Ellcie-Healthy
Founder and CEO of the start-up, Ellcie-Healthy, dedicated to the Internet of Things starting in 2015, the connected eyewear for safe driving and fall prevention for the elderly are the first products to be marketed with a team of around twenty people. We are focused on health, well-being and safety to date, but IoT is a major market and we are only at the beginning of the adventure!
What are the obstacles and challenges you have had to face throughout your career?
Resistance to change and the associated difficulty in convincing people are strong and are found at all levels of the process of bringing a product or service to market, from design to marketing.
For example, in 2004, I had the strategic decision validated at Atol to relocate production to France while it was being carried out in Asia. This new deployment could not be carried out in its current state without having to rethink the products concerned in order to justify this relocation. I had to be innovative with, in particular, the spectacle frame equipped with interchangeable clips, which justified a higher selling price for the product and therefore the agreement to produce in France, which was also more expensive.
What are your goals for 2021?
To make Ellcie-Healthy a start-up in orbit, profitable and consolidated at all levels!
What led you to become an entrepreneurial mentor?
It was the desire to pass on my knowledge, to advise, to inspire through my expertise of 40 years of activity, to counter the loneliness of an entrepreneur that we all experience, to play the role of a midwife of minds, to encourage systematic anticipation, to push back the limits of uncertainty in order to bring out an industrialised, commercialised product or service that touches one or more markets as widely as possible and which finances the company.
I was also fortunate enough to be mentored at the creation of my first company in development consulting through the setting up of a strategic consultancy. This mentoring, with its varied profiles, and in particular alumni from the Ecole Polytechnique, was invaluable to me in my many decision-making processes and in my ability to take a step back as far as possible.
What do you think of innovation in France?
It is moving in the right direction, particularly with the BPI, the public investment bank created in 2012 to finance innovation mainly in the form of bank loans, without which many start-ups would simply be dead.
The role of large accounts in the development of innovation is still far too weak, too timid and too greedy. I would recommend that the government set up fiscal support for large accounts by generating tax credits triggered with each order placed with start-ups.
What book(s) and/or author(s) would you advise young entrepreneurs?
I've learned a lot from the writings and the special exchanges I've had with Xavier Fontanet, who was CEO of the Essilor group. In particular, he published a book in 2010 that has aroused a lot of interest in which he shares his experience as an entrepreneur "Si on faisait confiance aux entrepreneurs - L'entreprise française et la mondialisation" (Editions, Les Belles Lettres). On the other hand, I advise, Leonardo da Vinci, a very enriching platform that federates and accompanies innovation players to build our territories of tomorrow.
What are you most passionate about?
I like to think that, through my work, my ideas, I contribute, in my own way, to the evolution of society and, in particular, to enabling people to stay healthy and well for as long as possible.
A leitmotiv that drives you on a daily basis?
"To surpass oneself, the only race that never ends".