As an online platform and gallery, Singulart is known for its services. However, sometimes the team itself – the many people who make it all possible – fades into the background. In our new series Meet the Singulart Family, we want to change this. As a French start-up company that counts diversity and inclusion among its core values, we at Singulart have many interesting stories to tell. Join us on a journey and discover life stories that have brought so many people to the heart of Paris. We spoke to the Co-Founder Brice Lecompte for this edition.
Brice described his family and upbringing in the small town of Reims in France as very suburban and normal. Having finished his education as an engineer, Brice was overtaken by a search for his life purpose that had him traveling the world from a young age. At the age of 21, he went to Montréal for further studies and from there he decided to go to India. After turning down a job in Angola and spending some time working in an NGO in Lebanon, Brice finally settled in Paris.
About Brice Lecompte
Having grown up in the region of Champagne, Brice started working menial jobs from an early age, trying out different professions in his incessant search for the right fit. He worked in his parents vineyards at a young age; took care of kids when he was 17, before working as an engineer during his studies in both a microchip factory and a business which saw him produce and program cameras for phones among other products.
Brice has been a people person interested in management and leadership, evident in his involvement in many student unions and associations. He was in the Bureau des Eleves (student body) and supported Ingénieurs sans frontieres (Engineers without borders).
His working life started off in a consulting company in La Defense near Paris. For Brice, being thrown into a lackluster environment full of suits and ties was not really fulfilling. Therefore, the dissatisfied Brice Lecompte began his search for something more interesting. Aged 25, he declined two offers (working on a drilling boat in Angola and an African consulting firm in Mauritius) to go to Chennai in India to manage a firm that specialized in IT development, where he stayed for four years. The company grew rapidly from 20 to 120 people and taught him a lot of invaluable management skills since it was his role to recruit more engineers. After four years, what made India exciting began to weigh on Brice.
What I like most about India is the way that people are really good at mixing professional and personal friends. They like being friends with the people they work with. This is a value I wanted Singulart to have too.
Brice’s Journey to Singulart
Returning from India, Brice worked at Criteo which was, unfortunately, lacking in purpose for him. Thus, he decided to take a year off and figure out where he could find a job that mixes purpose, responsibility and the excitement of a challenge. During this year he tried different things: he learned Spanish and tried to learn Arabic due to his insatiable curiosity in South America and the Middle East. He did this all in search for that revelation of what job would fit him. Being driven by the search to do something relevant lead him to an NGO in Lebanon. It frustrated him to have such high aspirations but no luck in pursuing it. The year was over and still he didn’t have his eureka moment.
In his late twenties, he finally started listening to his friends who told him that what he was looking for in his job, he could find by being an entrepreneur and creating the work. By doing so, the business and job he was craving for would be realized. So he started connecting and networking in Paris with people who had similar ambitions, he launched his first company with four of his peers to help travelers meet the locals in a secure way. This would be eyeopening for Brice but he would unfortunately have to put this project aside after two years.
He got to know Véra through the Ignition Program where they were matched. It was an instant fit, with shared values and ambition. It was a ‘case of right place at the right time’ as Véra and Denis Fayolle (third co-founder) already had an idea going to set up an online marketplace to empower artists.
Having always liked competition and with my pragmatism as an engineer, I learned a lot from the differences in skills between Véra, Denis and me, which required extra efforts in communication. But in the end, everyone is enriched by these differences.
Three Questions for Brice Lecompte
I wanted to build a successful company that puts an emphasis on equality and equal opportunities to all. Singulart empowers artists and gives them an equal chance – no matter where they come from. I like how progressive and disruptive contemporary art is. The freedom they have in expressing whatever they want or have to say.
What do you like most about Singulart?
The international aspect of what we are building. I like to take a step back and appreciate to see how many nationalities we have: from collectors to artists, but also our team working at Singulart. It’s amazing to see how well different cultures can work together. I was a bit scared at first to settle in Paris because I did not want to spend my life there, every three years I moved around. However, I am excited every morning to dive into the cultural diversity at Singulart.
Where do you see Singulart’s future?
As founders we want to build something that should live on its own, become independent – something that is, or becomes, bigger than us. A living organism that will survive by itself. We are its parents but we want and need to let the kid explore independently. I think we are now at 2% of what I want to bring to artists and empower them with. Singulart will become the global leader – I have never questioned this.