Another early morning rise for our already exhausted participants who made their way to breakfast just in time to enjoy the pancakes from the Treehouse and take some caffeine. Then they took their seats in two coaches, and en route to BlaBlaCar’s offices. For those who are unfamiliar with BlaBlaCar, it’s a ridesharing app which debuted in France before quickly expanding to other markets in Europe. It was founded by INSEAD alum Frédéric Mazella as ‘Covoiturage.com’. The app prides itself in having 18M riders per quarter, in comparison to 10M for British airways or 2.5M for Eurostar.
After a comprehensive introduction to the company’s values and aims by current CFO and INSEAD alum Julien Lafouge, the students got the chance to ask about the future of the company, what were their successes and setbacks along the way. Then we split up in four groups and got given a –silent– tour of the upstairs offices. The students got to peek into the trendy open-space offices of a (accomplished) start-up, with meeting rooms named after famous mathematicians, and the ‘village’ downstairs, where we were served breakfast at the bar earlier.
Ater this, we set off again to the Champs Elysées this time. Some 20 students had also signed up for a tour of Station F, the recently renovated derelict train station turned into start up‘ecosystem’ by French telecoms tycoon and philanthropist Xavier Niel. We were greeted by an INSEAD contact, MBA 17’, in charge of running the ‘INSEAD Launchpad’ there. If felt a bit like something out of a science fiction movie. We soon found that we were locked behind a restricted access door, and so we had to gaze from afar.
Meanwhile, the rest were roaming the Champs, some went on to shop and others were content licking windows… rumor has it counsellors went for a drink on the Quais de Seine. Once everyone made their way back to the bus we drove back to Campus where students were once again given the chance to chill for a couple of hours before dinner. Some hopefully reflected upon what they had seen the morning or in Station F. Then it was time for YFCD to start again, and the emails started pouring in from 20:30 to 22:00…