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

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

Matthew Le Roux, tell us how Le Vagon was born in São Paulo?

At Deezer, I understood the importance of the product. It is primarily a digital experience. It’s a product that convinces users to listen to music, return to it regularly, create playlists, and eventually subscribe. The design of the product experience for the user is essential.

I then wanted to learn how to program, because it is at the intersection of marketing and technological functions. After all, you must understand how to make a product. This friend is advising me to learn about bootcamps by code in France. That’s how I discovered Le Wagon, a company that teaches people how to code quickly. With a new learning format, very practice-oriented, different from the classical university course.

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

Le Wagon took a concept that was born in the United States and launched it in Europe. At that time there was no such initiative in Brazil, and one day, while talking to 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 car in Sao Paulo was launched. Today, the “party” in the work has forty students. We have grown well.

Van in Sao Paulo / Vincent Bosson

How is the coding training course at Le Wagon?

At the beginning of Wagon in São Paulo, training was organized full time, for 9 weeks every day, from 9:00 to 18:00. Today we also opened part-time classes, two evenings and all day on Saturday, this is the same hourly load, about 450 hours, but more than 6 months. We also opened another track, the second course, on data science. The student is not studying web development, but data science, full or part time.

Today Le Wagon has campuses in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and is growing in Latin America, in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Mexico City and recently Medellin. And Wagon in the world, it’s more than 40 cities where we teach, it’s an alumni community of 15,000 students. In Brazil, we have just passed the milestone of 1000 trained students in 6 years.

What is the profile of the people who study at the Le Wagon bootcamp?

Most of our students come to change their profession. We have a lot of lawyers because Brazil is a country that trains lawyers like no other. There are tattoo artists, hotel administrators, financial figures. Le Wagon has a very positive impact on the lives of students, either by changing professions, or becoming a freelancer, with the ability to sell profitable projects in the “tech”, or create a business. There are many startups who come to Le Wagon with the idea of ​​learning how to prototype. When they leave, all they have to do is look for clients, investors. In Brazil, we have about thirty start-ups born in Le Wagon, some of which I am also an angel investor.

What is the difference between coding and data science?

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

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

Data Science is a recent training at Le Wagon. The first weeks students use Python, a language very close to Ruby on Rails. They learn to manage all site data, clean up the data set, create models that process the data, and make it usable by the company in a “dashboard” that is easy to read.

Le Wagon also teaches “machine learning” models. Students then use the data to feed the model, which is improved with feedback on the data. For example, in one of the final bootcamp projects, students recorded thousands of recordings of people coughing and, based on the cough, could “determine” whether the person had Covid or not. confirmed. We also do things like image recognition, tone detection in music, and for the web, building sites like Airbnb, JavaScript online games, etc.

Wagon coding
Le Wagon Offers Coding Training Courses / Vincent Bosson

Can you tell us about French Tech in Sao Paulo?

Back in Brazil in 2012, I met Eloi Dechery, the founder of Zarpo, a travel startup that created an informal online group of French people. From time to time we met and exchanged advice. At the time, the group was referred to as the “friendly web entrepreneurs of São Paulo”.

Then French Tech was born in 2015 and began to develop French technology hubs around the world. Together with Ela Dechery and others, we changed the name of our group, the Facebook group became a WhatsApp group, and we organized meetings. We have been identified by the French authorities as important players in São Paulo and we have been able to benefit from a full-time job that has helped us structure ourselves. Today we are implementing various projects, such as the creation of the French Tech São Paulo recruiting platform. And this year, Frenchtech São Paulo is launching a technology research funding scholarship for students who want to study in a French school.

La French Tech is a brand that promotes French technology to the world.

In France, French Tech has several missions, including attracting companies, attracting talent and funding new technologies. In São Paulo, our goal is first and foremost to help and create a Francophone tech community and Francophiles. La French Tech in São Paulo is also a relay of the Brazilian ecosystem to France.

The board in São Paulo includes several FrenchTech players: Bertrand Chaverot, CEO of UBISOFT Latam, Charlotte Guinet, Innovation Coordinator at Edenred, Xavier Leclerc, Founder of MOX Digital, a company that organizes events in Rio and São Paulo, Laurent Giulizibaric, high-tech entrepreneur Lara Krumholtz, vice president of French advertising company Olivier Isaac, operating founder of Leboncoin in France, who settled in Brazil and runs a solar energy company.

Tell us about the technological panorama of Brazil?

I am an entrepreneur, and therefore necessarily an optimist. Brazil is first and foremost a large country with 200 million users using the same tech ecosystem as in the West, such as Google, Facebook, etc. When a company goes to Korea or China, things get more complicated. Brazilians also love to try new things and when they like it, they reveal it on social media where they are very active.

Also, in the digital realm, Latin America, and in particular Brazil, was not the first target of the world’s major technology players, which allowed local players to contribute to the development of this sector by adapting existing applications. It is for this reason that Brazil has a national delivery leader, iFood, and Uber Eats recently had to shut down. In trade we find the company Mercado Livre. Amazon came later (the company is the third or fourth player in this market).

In finance, the Nubank case is very interesting. First, because digitalization allows you to break the oligopolies that are the real plague in Brazil, creating a kind of draft. In Brazil, 85% of the market belongs to 5 banks. The Central Bank of Brazil is aware of the problem and, by offering a simpler digital regulation policy, promotes fintech, increasing competition and facilitating user access. It can be said that today the financing and digital innovation ecosystem in Brazil is very dynamic.