July 13, 2024

Justice for Gemmel

Stellar business, nonpareil

A business graduate’s bid to make banking greener

Julia Ménayas adopted a well-trodden path out of company university, getting an associate in a venture money firm. But in March 2020, just as she read about “something called Covid”, she stop to established up a banking expert services organization concentrating on sustainability.

Launching Helios was an ambitious transfer by the 27-yr-aged Parisian, who only graduated from her masters in administration (MiM) at HEC Paris in 2018. For the to start with four months, the company comprised just Ménayas and her co-founder, Maeva Courtois, working from Courtois’ kitchen area, noticed by the cat.

But Ménayas was pushed by the motivation to go after a profession that would be about generating social price, rather than basically earning a profit — an outlook that came in portion from her time at company university.

When she begun at HEC Paris, she felt like one particular of the “lucky ones”, and the class taught her to switch that into a feeling of social accountability.

FT Masters in Administration position 2021 — leading 100

A lecture at London Business School
London Business Faculty is ranked fourth in the league desk

Uncover out which faculties are in our position of Masters in Administration degrees. Discover how the desk was compiled and read through the relaxation of our coverage at www.ft.com/mim.

By means of her do the job practical experience — which includes at start off-ups as well as in venture money and consulting — she was drawn to the technologies sector. But tech did not fulfill her motivation to generate social price. She describes the business as “very weird”, and even though there is major social accountability as an trader — selecting which industries and providers will prosper, what new careers will be made and supporting to shape the broader economic path — “somehow we were not owning it at all”, she suggests.

Sunny outlook: Helios invests in industries that do not lead to the local climate disaster

So Ménayas returned to what she was taught on her MiM. “Leaving a VC — with pretty good life earnings — was tricky,” she suggests. “But when it did not make feeling in phrases of [social] accountability, I remembered what I had been taught on the MiM and how we had to imagine not about salary but the price we could bring,” she suggests.

Helios, which provides its expert services in partnership with German banking software organization Solaris, is somewhere “between an NGO [non-governmental organisation] in phrases of aspiration and purpose” and a company “because we have to be sustainable somehow”, suggests Ménayas.

Shoppers fork out a cost to open an account and Helios pledges in no way to commit their deposits in industries that lead to the local climate disaster or harm biodiversity. “We do really the reverse,” Ménayas suggests. “We only direct our funding to industries associated to the ecological transition.” Symbolically, the to start with bank cards are built of cherrywood sourced from sustainable forests in Europe.

A Visa card made of cherrywood
Cherry on leading: The company’s to start with bank cards are built from sustainable cherrywood

One more goal of Helios is to increase awareness among the people about exactly where banking institutions commit their deposits. When folks contemplate worldwide warming, Ménayas suggests, they have a tendency to imagine of the effects of the automotive or aviation industries, but number of glimpse at which providers banking institutions fund using customers’ cash.

“The banking business transforms people’s deposits into extensive-phrase investments in the real economic system and, by selecting to finance industries like coal-fired electric power or gasoline extraction, [banking institutions] truly have a whole lot of accountability in regards to our future,” she argues.

Ménayas credits company university with opening up opportunities and inspiring her to be bolder. Alongside access to a community of start off-ups, VCs and entrepreneurs, HEC Paris promoted a “learn to dare” ethos that she suggests she appreciated. “The university opens up your brain to developing anything and not fearing the not known,” Ménayas suggests. “That was a good starting off position to go away standard business driving and start off anything far more adventurous.”

Julia Ménayas © ©Magali Delporte

Certainly, her advice to prospective MiM college students — alongside staying curious and open to having classes in a selection of subjects over and above finance — is to devote a third of their time in the classroom and two-thirds speaking to classmates, lecturers and speakers.

Tapping into this community gave Ménayas the self esteem and state of mind to request guidance when she needs it — anything that is proving critical as an entrepreneur. “Being uncovered to pretty different life tales was a good lesson simply because I felt it was Okay for me to arrive at out to anyone,” she suggests. “At Helios we have to build anything from scratch, so we have to gather a whole lot of talent, partners, buyers and consumers, and be able to arrive at out to anyone for support, advice or resources.”

The MiM provided a lesson in far more everyday competencies, these as listening. There are a lot of significant egos at company university, suggests Ménayas — anything that was specified quick shrift at the army camp to which college students were despatched to find out about teamwork. “The troopers explained to us, ‘You are heading to find out how to shut up’,” she recalls.

Ménayas suggests she learnt to listen to other folks in the group, as well as to leaders. “As a supervisor and co-founder now, I imagine I primarily listen. Starting to listen before truly main was a pretty good profession lesson.”

The practical experience of teamwork that the MiM provided has also been a must have. “Today, our venture is all about developing the greatest group, one particular that is 100 for each cent aligned with our function but also proficient to provide tangible outcomes,” she suggests. “The group do the job, which was pretty extreme on the MiM, was pretty good instruction for that.”

Helios is off to a good start off. The to start with spherical of fundraising introduced in €1.5m and its 3,500 users across France, Belgium and Luxembourg have so far deposited €8m in existing accounts, which expense €6 for each month to open. But the company is young and there are problems forward, these as recruitment, product or service, acquisition and raising awareness among the people about how banking institutions use their cash.

But Ménayas remains characteristically ambitious: in five a long time she wishes Helios to hire 100-200 folks and “be substantially far more political than we are now”. Like the new banking institutions that begun up all through the industry’s electronic revolution, Helios is on the “verge” of bringing a “sustainable revolution of banking”, Ménayas suggests, “proving that we can do things in a different way, that we can build a clear and sustainable product and, hopefully, paving the way for the banking business to change far more radically and faster”.


2020 Co-founder, Helios

2018-twenty Associate, Alven (venture money firm)

2017-eighteen Specialist, Boston Consulting Team (6-month internship)

2017 Analyst, Knife Money (venture money fund — 6-month internship)

2014-eighteen Masters in administration, HEC Paris (portion of a double degree in corporate and community administration science at Sciences Po)

2016-17 Private fairness analyst at Bpifrance (financial commitment bank — 6-month internship)

2015 Business-to-company product sales at Jam (on-line media organization — summertime internship)