Thibault Bignon

Thibault Bignon

Master in management
Co-founder of Komate

Making your first expatriation to Poland 

I went to Warsaw for 6 months as an Erasmus student. It was a project I had in mind for some time. For me, going abroad is a way to become emancipated.

It was an incredible experience. Every student should go abroad because you meet new people and you grow a lot.

When we all went on expatriation in our second year, we had all grown a lot. 

During an expatriation, it is quite difficult to meet locals. It is easier to spend time with other French expats and international students.

The best encounters are mainly with students of other nationalities. But it's also the case with the locals when you have the chance to meet them on a daily basis. You don't have the same country experience when you go abroad. That's what I really appreciated.

Going to Ireland

I decided to go to Ireland because the following year I was going to do a work-study programme. I wanted to do another expatriation and live my own little experience. For this expatriation, I went alone and I found it very beneficial.

I really fell in love with this country. I had wanted to go to Ireland since I was very young, especially for its technological aspect which I like a lot. A lot of tech companies are based there.

I wanted to see what the Irish ecosystem looks like, especially Dublin, where I did my internship. As I was the only Frenchman and I spoke Spanish, I had the chance to manage the French and Spanish markets.

Because I spoke three languages, including English, I was in contact with international hotels in China, Australia, the United States, Argentina and Spain. I had responsibilities that I would not have had without speaking these languages.

This experience really confirmed many of my skill choices. It also convinced me of the importance of going abroad.

Entering the professional world

I didn't really have to look for my first job because thanks to the Job Meetup organised by the school, I found my work-study placement. It started with a 15-to-20-minute meeting which led to several interviews and finally to a job.

During this event, I met other companies. I finally chose the company Rians to do my work placement.

I also did my end-of-study internship at Air Liquide. I've always been attracted by large groups because I wanted to discover how they work, their advantages and disadvantages. Maybe we also want to change the world a little!

At Air Liquide, I was supporting a manager who was in charge of a team of project managers. I assisted them in analysing commercial data. I had to identify possible areas for negotiation to optimise costs. It was really interesting.

In addition, I was working in the field of hydrogen, which was a very popular subject. My knowledge of chemistry was fairly light, but I was able to develop it further. It was incredible to experience this from the inside.

Getting involved in the Sports Office

I've done a lot of sports in my life so the Sports Office was an obvious choice for me. My sociability means that I like to reach out to people. It was a pleasure to join this association. 

It is also a way of giving back to the school what it gives us from the start. Students of higher classes and student associations help us a lot during our integration. I wanted to give future students what I myself received. 

It is an incredible pleasure to manage this association. We have enormous freedom. We simply want to give as much of our time as possible.

Starting out as an entrepreneur

I already knew that I would go into entrepreneurship one day but had no idea how. I thought it would happen much later in my life, but opportunities made it happen quickly.

I met my partner on the school benches. We were sharing a flat and playing a lot of video games. The idea came about quite naturally, but it took a little while to materialise.

At the beginning, it was still unclear whether or not to become an entrepreneur as a student. It's the idea of challenging yourself and moving towards a new experience that makes you go for it. We have in mind to create our own path, to make things evolve and to impact people through our ideas and actions.

If we had to pitch Komate in one minute, here's what it would look like: it's an application that brings the gaming community together by allowing gamers to meet, and to do so in close proximity. That's the real added value we bring to this environment.

Taking measured risks

We are lucky in France that entrepreneurship is highly valued. When you are young, it is less risky to start up and it is not at all serious to make mistakes.

Every 'successful' person has made mistakes in the past. You have to learn to deal with failures and bounce back. That's what I liked about the entrepreneurial world.

Changing the image of gaming

We had the idea for Komate before Covid, but this period reinforced our feeling that there was a need to gather around a common passion: video games. It is the first cultural industry in the world, ahead of cinema, music... Having attended a business school, we learned to constantly meet new people and create links.

It was natural for us to create this company, to move from the virtual to the real and to remove the cliché of the gamer who is alone behind his screen eating chips! 

In reality, there are millions of people who gather around gaming events. It's attracting more and more people. We really think we can make a difference.

Having a sense of priority

At School, you study subjects. This can sometimes be tedious or extremely interesting. I think the most important thing to remember is that we are taught to prioritise. This is extremely important. We often realise this once we are in the professional world.

For example, when you're late to revise for your midterms, you choose one rather than another according to your chances of success. For me, prioritising is really the basis.