Xavier Niel, « business angel » le plus actif de France - Xavier Niel is a French entrepreneur who founded internet company Free and is now its majority shareholder. He is one of the richest people in France and well-known for his prolific investment in companies such as Dailymotion and Le Monde. During his best business years, Xavier Niel has been called "the most active business angel in France", "the richest Internet entrepreneur in Europe" and "a new Steve Jobs".
Who is Xavier Niel?
If you've never heard of Xavier Niel, you're not alone. But if we had to guess, it's probably because you're not a businessperson in France.
Xavier Niel is a businessman, entrepreneur and investor who has made his mark on the country's tech industry by founding or acquiring several companies including Iliad Telecom, Free Mobile and Dailymotion. He is also considered to be one of the most active business angels in France—he invested in over 200 startups between 2001 and 2018.
He was born on August 19th 1971 in Paris where he attended the Lycée Henri IV before studying at the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan where he earned his PhD in Mathematics. He then worked as an engineer before founding Iliad Telecom which would later become Free Mobile after merging with SFR Group in 2012.
The different stages of Xavier Niel's life
Xavier Niel, the French businessman and internet mogul who has an estimated net worth of $9.2 billion, is the most active business angel in France. He is also a co-founder of Iliad and Free, which are two of France's largest telecom companies.
Xavier Niel was born on April 8th, 1963 in Rueil-Malmaison, Hauts-de-Seine. His father was a technician at Thales Group, a defense company. He has four siblings: two brothers and two sisters.
Niel's parents divorced when he was only four years old. His mother then moved him to Brittany where she lived with her family until she remarried when Xavier was 10 years old.
He studied at Lycée du Parc until he dropped out at age 16 to pursue his passion for coding by entering into a computer programming school near Lyon called École 42 (École 42). After graduating from this school in 1985, he worked as an intern at IBM before returning to Paris in 1987 where he started working for Microsoft as an employee of their French subsidiary based out of La Défense district near Paris' Arc de Triomphe monument located along Avenue de la Grande Armée street just south.
A business angel, a role model and mentor
Xavier Niel is a business angel, a role model and mentor. He is the most active business angel in France. He is also a businessman and an investor.
He was born on October 4th, 1972 in Paris. He is the son of Jean-Louis Niel, a wealthy banker, and Marie-José Riesco, a former model.
Xavier Niel studied at the École Polytechnique and graduated from l'École nationale supérieure des télécommunications de Paris (ENST). Xavier Niel then worked as an engineer at Alcatel before founding Iliad, which was later renamed Free in 2001.
In 2009, Xavier Niel created Kima Ventures with Marc Simoncini (founder of Meetic). Kima Ventures invests in startups that operate worldwide via mobile devices or Internet-connected devices. One of its subsidiaries is Kima Labs, which focuses on artificial intelligence and virtual reality projects.
Xavier Niel has invested in more than 100 startups including Uber or Tezos (blockchain). In 2016 he launched Kima Ventures' program for young entrepreneurs called Kima Challenge and organized startup competitions around the world (New York City 2017, Los Angeles 2018).
A philanthropist, the modern Warren Buffet
Xavier Niel, the most active business angel in France, is a billionaire who has become a symbol of entrepreneurship. He is also a politician, an activist for the rights of the disabled and a philanthropist.
Xavier Niel was born in 1965 in Paris. As a child, he studied at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and later at the École Polytechnique (Polytechnic School), where he met Pierre Amaury and Marc Simoncini, who would become his closest friends.
In 1992, Xavier Niel created Free (the first ISP in France), which soon became France's leading telecommunications company with over 20 million customers. In January 2017, Xavier Niel sold his shares in Free to Iliad Telecom for 12.5 billion euros, making him one of the richest men in France.
Xavier Niel has also invested in many other companies: iliad Telecom (free mobile operator), Le Figaro (newspaper), Dailymotion (video sharing platform), Le Monde (newspaper), Le Boncoin (classified ads site), Deezer (music streaming service), etc.
The future is bright for French entrepreneurs
Xavier Niel, "business angel" (venture capitalist) the most active in France, is the man behind Free and Iliad. He's a business angel who has invested in more than 100 startups, including Airbnb.
He's also a philanthropist who has been working closely with the government to improve education in France.
Niel was born in Paris on October 6th, 1966. He grew up in the suburbs of Paris and went to school at Lycée Louis-le-Grand before studying engineering at Supélec (École supérieure d'électricité). In 1990 he received a Master's degree from INSA Lyon (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon).
In 2000, Xavier Niel founded Iliad (company) with some friends and created Free Mobile which became one of the biggest mobile phone operators in France.
Xavier Niel is a key player in the success of many tech companies in France
Xavier Niel is a key player in the success of many tech companies in France. He is a business angel, and his most recent company is called Free Mobile. This company is a mobile phone carrier that provides low-cost high speed internet and phone service.
Xavier Niel's career started as an entrepreneur in the early 1980s when he started a small company that sold computers and software to schools in France. He later sold this company for $15 million USD (French Francs). By 1988, he had already made enough money from his first two ventures that he could afford to buy back his family farm on which he grew up.
After selling his first business, Xavier Niel decided to launch another one called Newtel, which was one of the first internet service providers in France. This company was later sold to Vivendi Universal for $1 billion USD (Euros).
In 2000, Xavier Niel was able to launch what would become one of his most lucrative ventures yet: Free Mobile. This new company aims at providing low-cost high speed internet and phone service through traditional mobile carriers such as Orange or SFR; however it does not require contracts or special equipment like other carriers.
Xavier Niel is a man, who can be considered as business angel in France. However, his investments in startups are really the plus because of its success and quick capital gain. It gives him to a good credit in the business sector. Xavier Niel has now decided to stop being "business angel" and to proceed with several projects that he was leading. His purpose is to make all these projects independent, so that he can relax a little and think of himself.