July 14, 2024

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A business graduate’s bid to make banking greener

Julia Ménayas adopted a well-trodden path out of small business college, turning into an associate in a venture money organization. But in March 2020, just as she listened to about “something called Covid”, she stop to set up a banking solutions business focusing on sustainability.

Launching Helios was an formidable shift by the 27-12 months-aged Parisian, who only graduated from her masters in administration (MiM) at HEC Paris in 2018. For the initial four months, the small business comprised just Ménayas and her co-founder, Maeva Courtois, performing from Courtois’ kitchen area, observed by the cat.

But Ménayas was driven by the wish to go after a vocation that would be about making social price, somewhat than simply just producing a earnings — an outlook that came in portion from her time at small business college.

When she commenced at HEC Paris, she felt like just one of the “lucky ones”, and the study course taught her to flip that into a perception of social accountability.

FT Masters in Management rating 2021 — best a hundred

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

Locate out which schools are in our rating of Masters in Management degrees. Find out how the desk was compiled and read the relaxation of our coverage at www.ft.com/mim.

As a result of her work working experience — which includes at begin-ups as well as in venture money and consulting — she was drawn to the technology sector. But tech did not fulfill her wish to produce social price. She describes the market as “very weird”, and although there is significant social accountability as an investor — choosing which industries and corporations will prosper, what new work opportunities will be developed and encouraging to form the broader financial course — “somehow we have been not proudly owning it at all”, she claims.

Sunny outlook: Helios invests in industries that do not contribute to the local weather crisis

So Ménayas returned to what she was taught on her MiM. “Leaving a VC — with incredibly good lifestyle earnings — was tough,” she claims. “But when it did not make perception in terms of [social] accountability, I remembered what I had been taught on the MiM and how we had to consider not about salary but the price we could bring,” she claims.

Helios, which offers its solutions in partnership with German banking software package business Solaris, is someplace “between an NGO [non-governmental organisation] in terms of aspiration and purpose” and a small business “because we have to be sustainable somehow”, claims Ménayas.

Customers pay a rate to open up an account and Helios pledges under no circumstances to devote their deposits in industries that contribute to the local weather crisis or damage biodiversity. “We do pretty the reverse,” Ménayas claims. “We only immediate our funding toward industries similar to the ecological transition.” Symbolically, the initial lender playing cards are designed of cherrywood sourced from sustainable forests in Europe.

A Visa card made of cherrywood
Cherry on best: The company’s initial lender playing cards are designed from sustainable cherrywood

An additional purpose of Helios is to elevate consciousness amongst shoppers about in which banking companies devote their deposits. When people take into account world wide warming, Ménayas claims, they are inclined to consider of the impact of the automotive or aviation industries, but couple of glance at which corporations banking companies fund working with customers’ revenue.

“The banking market transforms people’s deposits into extensive-time period investments in the real economy and, by choosing to finance industries like coal-fired electrical power or gasoline extraction, [banking companies] essentially have a lot of accountability in regards to our future,” she argues.

Ménayas credits small business college with opening up alternatives and inspiring her to be bolder. Alongside accessibility to a community of begin-ups, VCs and business owners, HEC Paris promoted a “learn to dare” ethos that she claims she appreciated. “The college opens up your mind to creating something and not fearing the mysterious,” Ménayas claims. “That was a good starting off issue to leave conventional market guiding and begin something much more adventurous.”

Julia Ménayas © ©Magali Delporte

Without a doubt, her tips to prospective MiM learners — together with being curious and open up to having programs in a wide variety of subjects outside of finance — is to spend a third of their time in the classroom and two-thirds speaking to classmates, lecturers and speakers.

Tapping into this community gave Ménayas the confidence and frame of mind to look for assist when she needs it — something that is proving vital as an entrepreneur. “Being uncovered to incredibly diverse lifestyle stories was a good lesson for the reason that I felt it was Ok for me to arrive at out to everyone,” she claims. “At Helios we have to construct something from scratch, so we have to acquire a lot of expertise, companions, buyers and purchasers, and be equipped to arrive at out to everyone for aid, tips or assets.”

The MiM furnished a lesson in much more daily techniques, such as listening. There are a lot of significant egos at small business college, claims Ménayas — something that was given small shrift at the navy camp to which learners have been sent to study about teamwork. “The troopers told us, ‘You are likely to study how to shut up’,” she recalls.

Ménayas claims she learnt to pay attention to other individuals in the group, as well as to leaders. “As a supervisor and co-founder now, I consider I typically pay attention. Starting to pay attention ahead of essentially top was a incredibly good vocation lesson.”

The working experience of teamwork that the MiM furnished has also been invaluable. “Today, our venture is all about creating the ideal team, just one that is a hundred for each cent aligned with our purpose but also knowledgeable to supply tangible success,” she claims. “The group work, which was incredibly intensive on the MiM, was incredibly good teaching for that.”

Helios is off to a strong begin. The initial spherical of fundraising brought in €1.5m and its three,five hundred people across France, Belgium and Luxembourg have so far deposited €8m in existing accounts, which expense €6 for each month to open up. But the small business is youthful and there are challenges ahead, such as recruitment, product, acquisition and elevating consciousness amongst shoppers about how banking companies use their revenue.

But Ménayas remains characteristically formidable: in 5 many years she needs Helios to hire a hundred-two hundred people and “be a lot much more political than we are now”. Like the new banking companies that commenced up for the duration of the industry’s digital revolution, Helios is on the “verge” of bringing a “sustainable revolution of banking”, Ménayas claims, “proving that we can do points otherwise, that we can construct a clear and sustainable design and, ideally, paving the way for the banking market to change much more radically and faster”.

CV

2020 Co-founder, Helios

2018-20 Affiliate, Alven (venture money organization)

2017-18 Specialist, Boston Consulting Group (six-month internship)

2017 Analyst, Knife Cash (venture money fund — six-month internship)

2014-18 Masters in administration, HEC Paris (portion of a double diploma in corporate and general public administration science at Sciences Po)

2016-seventeen Non-public fairness analyst at Bpifrance (financial investment lender — six-month internship)

2015 Business-to-small business sales at Jam (on the web media business — summertime internship)