Co-founder and Chairman
Xavier Niel is the founder and major shareholder of the Iliad Group, which owns and runs the leading French convergent telecom operator “Free“. Launching a triple-play (internet, cable television, and phone service) offering on its “Freebox” in 2001, “Free” became the first company worldwide to combine these services out of a single device. Since 2012, the company has provided its customers with an inexpensive, revolutionary mobile service called the “Free Mobile Operator” (3G/4G).For many years Xavier has invested in the telecommunications sector throughout the world. He continues to finance more than 150 startups worldwide per year. He co-holds an ownership interest in the Le Monde newspaper as well as in several and in other media institutions.In March of 2013, Xavier co-founded 42 in Paris, which has helped over 3,000 young adult students, and 42 Silicon Valley in July of 2016, which aspires to train 10,000 young adults in the field of computer programming over the next 10 years. 42 has licensed its model collaborating with many different existing educational institutions worldwide ranging from South Africa, Romania, and Ukraine. In May of 2017, he opened the world’s largest digital incubator, “Station F”, a 350,000 square foot powerhouse in the heart of Paris.
Sophie has been a technology and gaming nerd since she was young. In 1981, at the age of 7, she was one of the first female players in an RPG (Role-Playing Game) in France and was also awarded, that same year, a ZX-81. When she was 10, she learned the programming language BASIC in school. Since her childhood, she has loved different kinds of games (videogames, boardgames, puzzles, brainteasers, etc) and the worlds of science fiction and heroic fantasies. As an advocate of project-based learning, Sophie has been an independent developer, computer programming teacher, and director of Web @ cadémie, the Samsung Campus, and the Coding Academy by Epitech. She was the origin behind the first computer training course for “ambition féminine” (female ambition) in 2016, made up of 80% women and is a director of #JamaisSansElles, a movement in favor of gender diversity. She is also very involved in other social issues and is a member of many NGOs. In 2018, it was clear for her to join 42: to help bring out and highlight not only the technical skills of the students of 42, but also essential qualities such as ethics, critical thinking, creativity, and empathy.
42 SILICON VALLEY STAFF
Marketing Communications Manager
Head of AI and Robotics
Technical Program Manager
Eliot Van Heumen
Head of DevOps
The Bocal is the nerve center of 42 which brings together very different personalities from within the institution. Together, they ensure the proper functioning of all the of the school’s facilities, while also enriching the pedagogy and/or developing new learning tools. The Bocal preserves the values that were instilled by 42‘s founding team: a place that is constantly on the move and where passion goes beyond work.The Bocal is always active: it must be able to quickly respond be it in the middle of the night when the network goes down or when the intranet requires an update. For this reason, it is not uncommon in the Bocal to start their workday when others are finishing theirs.The defining feature of the Bocal is its openness. 42’s students can become a part of it as an intern or through volunteer work, thus allowing its participants to advance their skills. The Bocal alumni are highly sought after and recognized by companies for their exceptional abilities to adapt.