Within the head of Céline Lazorthes, co-founder and CEO of Resilience
Freedom - equality – brotherhood/sisterhood, this is the theme of our seventh episode.
Wehad the chance to welcome Céline Lazorthes, co-founder and co-CEO of Résilience, an application serving oncology patients and caregivers.
Freedom - equality – sisterhood, this is the theme of our seventh episode.
We were lucky enough to welcome Céline Lazorthes, co-founder and co-CEO of Résilience, an application serving oncology patients and caregivers.
How does it work? A patient undergoing chemotherapy, for example, is invited to enter his PROs (patient report outcomes) on the application. Resilience's AI will then process the data to send potential alerts to the relevant health professionals. We are talking about remote therapeutic monitoring. This allows a better follow-up of the patient, a better detection of the risk of complication and/or relapse, a reduction of the number of days of hospitalization and thus a better quality of life for the patient, while relieving the administrative workload for the oncologists.
Céline is definitely free in her mind and in her acts, and has always been so. She has been an entrepreneur since she left school. In her daily life, she does everything she can to make parity a reality in our society. If she had to choose a motto to guide her, it would be freedom - equality - sisterhood.
Serial entrepreneur, she is led by her instinct and never takes her eyes off her goal, as long as it is not exceeded. During this podcast, Vincent Puren interviews Céline about her journey, her family, her choices, and also the difficulties she encountered.
An inspiring exchange that gives us a great insight into the entrepreneurial and committed vision of Céline Lazorthes.
I - Leetchi, the solo-founder adventure
In 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, Céline graduated and, like all young people of her age, had to choose her life path.
She decided to turn to entrepreneurship.
Coming from a rather tech school background, she has always been attracted to digital ; the Internet "this world where everything is possible". In parallel, Céline has always worked when she could. Independent, she quickly realized that it is through knowledge and expertise that she will be able to advance as she wishes.
In November 2009, one year after graduation, Céline launched 'Leetchi' a company that publishes the famous online website leetchi.com, the email money transfer tool Leetchi Cash a payment solution on the Internet for the actors of the collaborative economy, the beginnings of crowdfunding. It is notably thanks to a grant of 20 000€ from OSEO (formerly Bpifrance) that the project comes to life. She confided that it was also her master's courses that gave her a good grounding in management, human resources, finance, etc...
The company quickly gained notoriety and legitimacy, which was not without difficulties for Céline, the only founder of this company.
However, two years later, she was joined by her childhood friend, Romain Mazeries, who was a real support and strategic ally for Céline, but who was unable to erase the feeling of loneliness and the mental burden inherent in the profession of entrepreneur and company director.
Nevertheless, the company flourished and in 2013, the two partners decided to create MangoPay, which became the BtoB activity of the startup, an activity still managed by Romain, to this day. It is in this dynamic that in 2014, Leetchi officially becomes financially profitable.
In 2015, Céline and Romain started looking for a partner to accelerate, to grow internationally and to strengthen their position on the national territory.
Finally, the two associates turned to Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, not for a partnership, but for a buyout. As the first banking partner of Leetchi and very much invested in digital technology at that time, this decision seems to be the most viable and sensible one.
Céline will remain operational in the company until 2019, the year her first child is born, 'I left one baby to welcome another', she confides. Then, she will take a seat on the board of directors that same year and move on to new adventures.
2019 marks a real turning point for Céline. A need to breathe, to focus on herself, to learn again, to be inspired by others again. A feeling of being drained and not having anything more to say makes her withdraw from conference programs and other usual speaking engagements. It was at this time that she told herself that she would never be entrepreneur again.
II- Commitment, surpassing oneself and change
Coming from a rather well-to-do family and having always been very well surrounded, Céline confides to us that she never felt she was a victim of inequality in her youth.
It was when she left her position at Leetchi, on the occasion of her farewell party, that a remark about her age and the motherhood made her realize that in reality, as a woman, as a woman entrepreneur, she was frequently confronted with inequalities.
She even remembers some of her reactions, which she would not have had if she was a man, when she bought her company for example. Then, she realized through research, discussions and readings that society is responsible for these inequalities. It is not men who are opposed to women, but society which, from a very young age, develops biases in the collective mind. Céline tells us that she has often been her own brake, in her professional relationships, when it came to negotiating, to asking, but also in her personal projects.
She talks about ambition. A value that is not very much valued in France, and particularly among women, she tells us, an ambitious woman will often be judged and misunderstood.
With this in mind, Céline decided to launch 'SISTA', a collective that aims to reduce the inequalities in financing between women and men entrepreneurs.
“The more feminist I am, the more feminist I become," she says. But how can you not be, Céline asks us, when you know that 2.6% of venture capital money goes to female teams, 10% to mixed teams and the rest to male teams, in 2019. It is on this basis that the tribune "Counting women so that women count" was published, to make people react, to put a kick in the anthill.
At the same time, Celine decided to refocus on herself, her family, her child. Only, one week after her delivery, bedridden and exhausted, her husband had to go back to work. This was a shock to Celine, who wrote to her family and friends because she felt it was unfair to her husband, who was missing out on the essential moments of life to create a bond with her child, but also to herself, who found herself alone and tired in the face of this new adventure, which was 'the most beautiful, but the most difficult, of her entire life'.
So, in January 2020, Céline, Isabelle Rabier and Thibault Lanthier launched together 'the Parental act'. A new device that asks companies to commit to paying the 2 parents 100% of their salary during 1 month of parental leave.
It is by the citizen way, the most telling according to Céline, that this device was born. By the summer of 2020, more than 100 companies had signed up. 400 member companies later, the 3 partners were contacted by L’Elysées, who thanked them and congratulated them for having created a system like this one, indicating that they themselves could not have done better.
An achievement of which Céline is very proud, but which is not yet sufficient according to her. For her, the objective will be fulfilled when both parents will be able to obtain 4 months of leave. According to her, this is the way to drastically reduce the inequalities between men and women. Indeed, companies obviously have an interest in hiring a person who is going to stay for the long term, but if both parents can have the right to leave at this time of life, then discrimination in hiring will be less present.
On all fronts, Céline adds to this period investments as a business angel. A good way to give, in turn, a helping hand to entrepreneurs who need it.
However, in the summer of 2020, the entire ecosystem is turned upside down by the COVID19 pandemic.
It is at this precise moment that health takes an important place in Céline's life, without her even realizing it.
III - Resilience
It all started in a WhatsApp group on a Sunday afternoon. Thomas Clozel, co-founder and CEO of Owkin, wrote to Céline and other entrepreneurs, including Jonathan Benhamou, founder of PeopleDoc, to help hospitals by delivering equipment.
That's how the 'protège ton patient' movement was born.
A 'crazy' adventure confides Céline. Within 5 months, more than 7.4 million euros have been collected, helping more than 400 hospitals in mainland France, Corsica and Mayotte. These are hours of exchanges with suppliers in South Korea, members of the APHP and even Elon Musk.
For Céline, this experience was certainly exhausting and surprising, but above all it was magnificent, full of meaning. A group of entrepreneurs, without any apparent link, who collaborate, from a distance, to engage in a voluntary adventure and hundreds of actors who contribute to it, by blank checks for example, even though the structure had no real legal status. Proof that with the desire, a need, an objective, everything is possible.
After the fatigue and the time invested, it was not the desire to rest that invaded Céline, but the desire to undertake again.
And this time, it was health or nothing, with Jonathan Benhamou or not at all.
Coming from a family of doctors, Céline has always been involved in this sector. She even tells us that she wanted to start studying medicine at the age of 36, but unfortunately it was a year too late for her, as the programs are accessible until 35.
So when Thomas Clozel spoke to Céline and Jonathan about oncology, and they realized that cancer is the leading cause of death in Western countries, and that each oncologist in France would need 120 consultations a day to see each patient once a quarter, the two entrepreneurs didn't hesitate long before accepting the challenge and embarking on a brand new adventure: Resilience. They contacted the Gustave Roussy Institute, the institute that developed and democratized genetics in cancerology, and in particular Professor Fabrice André.
Convinced that they would leave empty-handed, not taken seriously, it was one of the biggest surprises that awaited them during this meeting. 4 hours of exchanges later, they leave with a promise to work together, hand in hand, to 'invent the jobs of tomorrow'.
Céline talks about this association with a lot of gratitude. It's an incredible way to benefit from extraordinary knowledge, an informed medical vision and a real acculturation for her teams and herself.
This allowed them to take back the co-ownership of a study that had been carried out by the institute, around remote therapeutic monitoring, the CAPRI study, which had notably demonstrated the benefits of remote monitoring
Vincent then asks Céline about the speed with which she and Jonathan have been raising funds, 47 millions euros in total, and rapidly starting acquisitions.
Céline answers that they had a precise objective : to treat patients better.
To provide better care, we had to take into account the global context (in this case, oncology) which is becoming a chronic pathology, with heavy treatments, and at the same time, the number of practitioners is not increasing. It was therefore necessary to obtain real expertise in order to change things and create an innovation that would meet expectations. Indeed, remote monitoring is a medical device. To become a medical device, it requires financial, human and material investment. Acquiring a reliable, well-established player seemed to be the best option.
If there is one thing that Céline has learned from her various experiences, it is that you have to dare, go for it, believe in yourself, learn, build. This is what Jonathan and Céline applied in their professional life when they decided to go international, but also in their personal life, by finding a balance between work and life.
This was a long-standing issue for Céline, who had a hard time balancing the two. However, from the beginning of her association with Jonathan, there was no question of him putting his personal life aside. They worked together to create the balance that is vital to Celine today. More organization, a little bit of self-sacrifice, but “it's all possible”, Céline tells us.
Through this episode, we were able to discover some of the inner workings of an entrepreneur's life.
Céline confided to us that she grew up with the idea that 'one's destiny is greater if one is at the service of others'. We can say that in her role as an entrepreneur, but also as a committed woman, Celine has not lost sight of this mantra.
Moreover, at Resilience, there are still many projects: to develop new programs to accompany patients physically and psychologically, to personalize services even more and to develop new research projects with centers in France and abroad.
At the same time, Céline does not intend to stop looking after gender equality, notably through Sista and her investments.
This exchange proves to us that entrepreneurship does not only consist in setting up a company, but in daring to create a project and believing in it. It also makes us realize that the life of an entrepreneur is not only about success, on the contrary, 'I have only failed' confides Céline, 'and sometimes, I succeeded and dared'. This reassures us that not all journeys are without pitfalls, but this does not prevent success.
We hope this exchange has inspired you as much as it has us. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, click here. To watch it, go here.