Mathieu Le Roux: “From French technology to Sao Paulo”

Arriving in Brazil to launch the Deezer application in Latin America, Mathieu Le Roux co-founded in 2016 Wagon Brazil, a training center dedicated to “coding”. He received us at his headquarters in Vila Madalena to talk to us about new technologies and French technology. Encounter :

Mathieu Le Roux, can you tell us how Le Wagon was born in Sao Paulo?

At Deezer, I had discovered the importance of the product. It is above all a digital experience. It is the product that convinces users to listen to music, come back regularly and create playlists and eventually subscribe. Designing the product experience for the user is essential.

I then wanted to learn how to program, because it is at the crossroads between marketing and technology functions. At the end of the day, you need to figure out how to make the product. He is a friend who recommends me to inquire about code bootcamps in France. I discovered the Le Wagon company which quickly trains people in programming. With a new teaching format that is very practice-oriented, different from the classic university course.

The idea of ​​the bootcamp is to learn in a group, within a class, intensively, in 9 weeks, like a training camp, hence the military name.

Le Wagon took a concept that originated in the United States and launched it in Europe. At that time there was no such initiative in Brazil and one day, chatting with the founder of Le Wagon on Linkedin, he explained to me that he was opening franchises all over the world. Then I became a student and the first franchisee in Latin America. In July 2016 we opened our first “batch”, the first group of students, where there were ten of us. The Cart is launched in San Paolo. Today the “lot” in progress has forty students. We have grown up well.

The chariot in San Paolo / Vincent Bosson

How does Le Wagon coding bootcamp work?

At the beginning of the Chariot in Sao Paulo, the training was organized full time, for 9 weeks every day, from 9:00 to 18:00. Today we also opened part-time lessons, two evenings and Saturday all day, it’s the same hourly load, about 450 hours but over 6 months. We have also opened another “track”, a second course, on “data science”. The student does not learn web development, but data science, full-time or part-time.

Today, Le Wagon has campuses in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and is developing in Latin America, in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Mexico City and recently Medellín. And the Chariot in the world, there are more than 40 cities in which we teach, is an Alumni community of 15,000 students. In Brazil we have just passed the milestone of 1000 students trained in 6 years.

What is the profile of the people studying at the Le Wagon bootcamp?

Most of our students come with the goal of changing careers. We have many lawyers, because Brazil is a country that trains lawyers like no other. There are tattoo artists, hotel receptionists, finance people. Le Wagon has a very positive impact on students’ lives, whether by changing careers or becoming a freelancer, with the ability to sell profitable “tech” projects, or create businesses. There are many startupers who come to Le Wagon with the idea of ​​learning how to create their prototype. When they leave, they just have to look for clients, investors. In Brazil we have about thirty startups born in Le Wagon, some of which are also Business Angels.

What is the difference between coding and data science?

Our historical course is web development, where we teach Ruby on Rails. It is not the only “stack” on the web, but it is the most accessible for beginners. For the “front end”, the visible part of the site, we teach JavaScript. (Editor’s note: a “stack” refers to a combination of technologies, such as programming languages ​​and related modules, libraries, etc.).

Le Wagon trains students in software, we use web development as the first playground, it’s the easiest way to make a prototype and students see the result immediately. But once they understand programming, they can adapt to many other languages.

Data science is a more recent education at Le Wagon. The first few weeks, students use Python, a language very close to Ruby on Rails. They learn to manage all the data on a site, to clean the dataset, to build the models that process the data and to make them usable for the company in a readable “dashboard”.

Le Wagon also teaches “machine learning” models. Students then use the data to feed a model that is refined through data feedback. For example, in one of the final ‘bootcamp’ projects, students recorded thousands of recordings of people coughing and, based on the cough, could ‘detect’ whether or not the person had Covid, although the pattern remains. validated. We also deal with projects such as image recognition, tone detection in music, and for the web the creation of sites like Airbnb, online games in JavaScript, etc.

Coding of wagons
Le Wagon offers “coding” / Vincent Bosson bootcamps

Can you tell us about French technology in Sao Paulo?

Back in Brazil in 2012, I met Eloi Déchery, the founder of Zarpo, a travel startup who had created an informal group of French people who work on the web. We met from time to time, we exchanged tips. At the time, the group was called “Sao Paulo’s friendly web entrepreneurs”.

Then, French Tech was born in 2015 and started developing French Tech Hub around the world. With Eloi Déchery and others, we then changed the name of our group, the Facebook group became a WhatsApp group and we organized meetings. Identified as important actors in São Paulo by the French public authorities, we were able to benefit from a full-time job which helped to structure us. Today we are carrying out various projects, such as the creation of a French recruiting platform Tech São Paulo. And this year, the Frenchtech São Paulo is launching a scholarship to fund technology studies for students wishing to study in a French school.

French Tech is a label that promotes French technology around the world.

In France, French Tech has several missions, including that of attracting companies, talent and funding for new technologies. In São Paulo, our goal is first and foremost to help and create the French-speaking and Francophile-speaking technological community. French Tech in Sao Paulo is also a relay for the Brazilian ecosystem to France.

The Sao Paulo “board” includes several FrenchTech actors: Bertrand Chaverot, CEO of UBISOFT Latam, Charlotte Guinet, Edenred innovation coordinator, Xavier Leclerc, founder of MOX Digital, a company that organizes events in Rio and Sao Paulo, Laurent Djoulizibaritch, a high-tech entrepreneur, Lara Krumholz, vice president of a French adtech, Olivier Aizac, operational founder of Leboncoin in France, who has settled in Brazil and runs a solar energy company.

Can you tell us about the technology landscape of Brazil?

I am an entrepreneur, and therefore necessarily optimistic. Brazil is first of all a large country with 200 million users, who use the same technological ecosystem as the West, such as Google, Facebook, etc. When a company goes to Korea or China, it’s more complicated. In addition, Brazilians love to try new things and, when they want, they reveal them on social networks where they are very active.

Furthermore, in the digital sphere, Latin America, and in particular Brazil, was not the first target of the major global tech players, which allowed local players to contribute to the development of this sector by adapting existing applications. This is why in Brazil there is a national leader in delivery, IFood, while Uber Eats has recently had to close. On the market we find the Mercado Livre company. Amazon came later (the company is 3rd or 4th player in this market).

In finance, the case of Nubank is very interesting. First of all because digital allows us to break the oligopolies that are a real plague in Brazil, creating a sort of draft. In Brazil, 5 banks hold 85% of the market. The Brazilian central bank is aware of the problem and, by proposing a simpler regulatory policy for digital, promotes Fintech, increasing competition and facilitating user access. We can say that today the ecosystem of financing and digital innovation in Brazil is very dynamic.

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