MADAMN, Meet the Team Hosting Escp’s Bicentenary
You might have noticed on stage two young women hosting ESCP’s Bicentenary along with Dean Frank Bournois and Executive Chairman of the Board Philippe Houzé. Élodie Andriot and Daria Chernova, who just graduated from the School’s MS in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, fully took part of the celebration.
We wanted to unveil the mystery behind these two talented entrepreneurs who founded their startup, MADAMN[FR], the day after classes closed doors.
You both met within the Specialized Master’s in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, why did you choose this programme?
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: I chose this particular degree amongst others due to its pragmatic approach of entrepreneurship. The pedagogy is very down to earth and aligned with the realities of creating a company, mainly because both Scientific Directors of the program have been entrepreneurs for a long time now. I wanted to join not only a track in a Business School but more broadly a real entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurship is fully part of ESCP’s DNA from the very beginning, so my choice was pretty obvious.
DARIA CHERNOVA: As far as I’m concerned, I spotted the MS eight years before joining the degree, while I was starting my studies. I always dreamt about becoming an entrepreneur one day, and kept in mind the program to apply when I was ready. The perfect timing happened last year, and the Master’s open day completed my decision to join it. The toolbox provided by the teaching we receive is a lifetime knowledge allowing us to create a company anytime and anywhere.
Tell us more about your background prior to attending the Master’s degree at ESCP Business school?
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: We’re really an international team - I’m half British half French, and Daria is half Russian half French - I guess we represent quite well the spirit of the school ! I did a Bachelor of Journalism in London before pursuing my studies in Media Management in New York and Paris. I then specialised in digital marketing and worked for different media corporations such as BBC, Channel 4, Warner Bros, Canal Plus and Condé Nast. These demanding environments prepared me for the toughness of having my own company and launching MADAMN.
DARIA CHERNOVA: We have a complementary partnership while having the same experience in challenging work environments. After studying literature and law, I specialized in human resources, with an appetite for talent development. I had the chance to work for CHANEL for several years, in Paris and Dubai, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry for an American leading company.
How did MADAMN start?
DARIA CHERNOVA: Everything started with Élodie’s idea...
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: I have five nieces and I found that it was a real pity that they had only women from the entertainment industry as actual role models. I wanted to share the stories of talented women from real life who break the glass ceiling every day : entrepreneurs, lawyers, scientists, athletes… We sent a few demands for interview, and they all said “yes”! Our interviews are now broadcasted on a leading French press platform - Les Echos Start, and we make a monthly talk on radio and TV, highlighting the women who succeed in the Tech industry. You can see us every first Monday of the month, on BFM Business.
MADAMN is a pretty funny name for a company, what’s the story behind it?
DARIA CHERNOVA: We wanted a name that shows the personality of the women we interview. We are playing with the French word “Madame” and the US popular expression “Damn, girl”. That’s a way to celebrate the amazing things women may achieve thanks to their extraordinary characters.
Your business model has evolved since you started, what are you doing today?
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: We started with interviews highlighting women as role models, but MADAMN became very quickly much more than a media - we have created a service for companies based on our own experience. Today, we work with big firms as well as startups on their corporate influence. We help companies to transform their employees into key opinion leaders to meet the brand goals which may be attracting talents, developing business opportunities or increasing the brand awareness.
How do you imagine your future?
DARIA CHERNOVA: First, we aim to develop our activity more broadly in France and become the reference when it comes to professional influence.
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: And second, as the professional influence is a global topic we wish to open offices in other countries next year.
MADAMN got success very quickly, what advice would you give to someone who would like to start her/his own company?
ÉLODIE ANDRIOT: I guess entrepreneurship is a way of living - even if we work long hours, we are truly passionate about what we do. As one said, “Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.”
DARIA CHERNOVA: The most important thing is to surround yourself with the right people - you can never succeed alone!
Interested in Élodie’s and Daria’s journey and how they created, in just a few months, a successful startup?
To follow their footsteps, check out ESCP’s Entrepreneurship programmes: