"Modern Day Renaissance Man"
Olivier Mathiot | Father | Founding CEO PriceMinister | Risk Taker
Paris, France | 44 years old
Born in the Alps of France, Olivier grew up “...with two skis on my feet.” Historically, skiing was a necessary skill for living in the Alps, and it remains so much of an integral part of the local culture that even “...in elementary school our class would go skiing every week.” Though now a resident of Paris, Olivier returns to the mountains as often as time will allow. His love for the outdoors, climbing, skiing, mountain biking and “...being free in nature”, fits with the work hard, play hard lifestyle that he eagerly cultivates. His willingness to take risks and his knack for adapting in a stressful, fast paced environment informs his work and is instrumental in his success.
In the beginning his ambition to “...create my own brand” came with some ambivalence from his wife. Leaping from a stable job in advertising to take a decrease in salary and found a new business, wasn’t the safest move for starting a family. However, Olivier saw an opportunity and in 2000, PriceMinister (think Amazon’s French cousin) hit the internet: it is now the second largest shopping website in France. In 2010, the site’s success encouraged a buyout by the number one Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten. Olivier recognized this as an opportunity for both personal and world growth. “Learning about new cultures, and creating bridges between different worldviews is necessary for economic global health,” he surmises.
It hasn’t been all glory, though. As with any success, there were bumps and bruises along the way. When PriceMinister first sold, Olivier enthusiastically jumped into the world of Angel Investing. Understanding the strong friendships that can be forged between investor and entrepreneur he was eager to play the new role of investor. The first venture went bankrupt, it was a valuable learning experience and honed Olivier’s eye for choosing successful entrepreneurial teams and ideas. “I am much more confident, and my judgment is much sharper.” He has become very good at finding compromises when business directions clash and likens this to being a “sports field referee”. Good companies are run by happy people and Olivier has a knack for bringing out the best in people, and believes in actively building strong business relationships.
Olivier is a busy man; father of two rambunctious boys, CEO of PriceMinister, Angel investor and co-CEO of France Digital, though his responsibilities haven’t dampened his passion for writing. It is the thing that he both doesn’t have enough time for, and where all time is lost when he is immersed in pouring life into the blank page. “Writing, there is never enough time, I need to be able to have at least three hours just to begin.” Olivier has always been inspired by movie directors, the theater and the craft of storytelling. He is currently writing a screenplay with plans of producing a TV series. The subject matter is close to his heart and we speak more of this than anything else. His excitement grows as he details out the storyline, a focused perspective on the digital start up culture. The sitcom would provide a behind the scenes look at the sacrifice, building of friendships, and betrayals that the industry is fraught with. I won’t give away any more of the details, but he is smack in the middle of the writing process and I for one cannot wait to watch the story unfold.