Martin Destagnol is currently the CTO (Chief Technical Officer) at Trace and working on an expense management platform for medium to large businesses that could benefit everybody in the company. He held four previous jobs including Product Manager (Web, Mobile, Desktop, Notes) and Engineering Manager (Mobile, note) at Box.
Live from Hawaï, last Wednesday we had the chance to meet Martin Destagnol and ask him about his background and current life
At the age of 15, after getting his first computer, he became passionate about IT and started writing code. After graduating from Paul Lapie High School, Martin Destagnol studied in an engineering school. He didn’t really know what he wanted to do afterward and landed a finance job at LVMH but he resigned only two months later.
In a daring bout of entrepreneurship, he launched his first startup named Plyce. It was not really successful because Martin Destagnol developed and launched his app without a team and in addition, Plyce was addressing a market that did not yet exist. In 2012 he pulled the plug on this application with the idea of creating something simpler and smaller in terms of objective.
So, Martin Destagnol devised Folders, a mobile application giving access to cloud storage services. The American Box company bought Folders for its iOS application before making it available on the Apple App Store. A one-way ticket to Silicon Valley propelled Martin Destagnol into the Box company. He said he was learning new things every day. He really enjoyed his work at Box as Director of Product and Director of Engineering. He stayed there for four years.
Regarding whether it’s better to work in France or in the US, Martin Destagnol believes that both have their benefits. For example; in the United States, people move up the corporate ladder thanks to their work and not according to the number of years they spent with the company, which is sometimes the case in some industries in France. On the other hand, free education for everyone in France is something that we often take for granted but that is an amazing benefit. And France is a very attractive country to create new businesses with a lot of help from the government. There has never been a better time in history to be an entrepreneur, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Asked by a student whether or not there were differences in what could be said or not in France and in the US, Martin mentioned that every country has their own sensitivities based on their personal history. For example, France to this day forbids the publication of any statistics about races or religions in the country. On the other side, a French kid could dress up as « Cowboys and Indians » without raising an eyebrow in France; yet it’s seen as racist and a culture misappropriation of Indian Americans in the US.
He lives with his wife and kids in Hawaii and has just been granted American citizenship. He’s happier than ever!
If we had to describe Martin Destagnol with a few adjectives it would be: audacious, hardworking, and cool.
Tara, Léo and Carla