How I, as a woman, went from female engineer to entrepreneur

How I, as a woman, went from female engineer to entrepreneur

Jade Le Maître CTO & Co-Founder of Hease Robotics Oct 3 8 min

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I am Jade LeMaitre, I am the CTO of Hease Robotics. Originally, I have a background in engineering before I completely fell in love with robotics. That’s why three years ago I decided to team up with Max my co-founder, and start Hease. It is a robotics company, our mission is to have businesses to use air ride driven robotics

Today I am here to share something important for me to the 50inTech community, and that is: “as engineers we have the unique ability to build the future you want so, and my mission is, and always was to: put robots in the public where they can solve everyday problems and inspire people like you and me.

We as women, have the unique responsibility to take back this field that was quite dominated by men and make the most: out of our experience, our values, our strength, our resilience. That’s not quite an easy task, and I learned a lot of things over the past three years and that’s what I wanted to share with the community today.

The first one is, when you have a technological role, or a management for a technical team, you have to have a technical background. It matters because you deal with big technological product, so you have to stay up to date: you have to network with your peers, you have to attend conferences, and read academic papers.

The second advice, will be about the posture of a few women in a technological field. You see in France there are fewer than 1 in 4 engineers that that women. Also, I’m starting to be known in my field; business people still frequently ask to speak with Monsieur LeMaitre. They always mistakenly assume that I am a man, and I struggled with that since the beginning, so that’s three years. So no matter how much of an expert in your field you are, no matter how big is the company you are growing; you have to prove yourself ten times and you have to be ready for that so we remain.

It’s important to be prepared. Technology is not the only key, non-technical skills also matter, and that’s my third advice. Learning non-technical skills will help you understand the challenges that are faced by your startup.

You are a founder, you are not building the technology, you are building a product; understand the ecosystem behind that. You’re building a product for customers so you have to understand the fields: marketing, sales, finance; as well. So you are knowledgeable in these fields and you choose the right people to work with you. It will help you to spread the problems early on, and that is something I learned quite early. So my advice would be either you gain this knowledge by yourself or you surround yourself with knowledgeable people that share your values and will help you grow. And when I look back three years ago, I see that the knowledge that was missing for me was, finance. I had no clue about financing a startup, about how you grow a company. I think that was my biggest mistake.

Shares are not a problem when everything is going well in your company. But your voice has to matter, especially when things are not going the way you want them to be.The journey of an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster, there are ups and downs everyday. So you have to be prepared for the downs, much better than you are prepared for the up.

My last advice and recommendation would be: to not do it on your own. You have to find a partner that will have complementary skills to you. Being a single founder is hard, being two founders is less hard.The survival statistics of companies founded by two people is much higher, and much better. A technical person & a non technical one. This raises the statistics and the chances of your startup to survive