Get to know the people who make our work and your dreams possible.

With team members based on four continents, NOVA helps to unlock innovation potential around the world, working collaboratively with startups as a strategic partner to connect them with the resources, support and expertise they need to succeed.

Core Team - North America

Minas Apelian

Global Director

Philadelphia, United States

Minas Apelian

Minas joined CertainTeed Corporation in 2013 following tenures at J.M. Huber and Mobil Oil Corporation. His experience in General Management, Operations, Research & Development, and Innovation informs his visionary pragmatism. Today he leads and shapes CertainTeed’s innovation strategy and launched a customer-focused platform approach to R&D for the business. Minas holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from MIT. He has authored a number of papers and is an inventor or co-inventor on 17 patents.

Personally, he is an avid wine enthusiast and foodie.

Laura Plunkett

Director, External Ventures Strategy

Boston, United States

Laura Plunkett

For over 10 years, Laura has worked in finance and strategy roles in the United States and abroad, including a very memorable two years in Shanghai, China, working on sustainable development with the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy.

In her role as the Director of External Venture Strategy, Laura gets to meet and think with extremely talented entrepreneurs and industry experts every day. Her experience in corporate development – new market entry, new product/service development, technology commercialization, route-to-market optimization – has enabled her to forge pathways to cooperation between Saint-Gobain, with its 350-plus years of experience, and in-market leadership and startups all over the world.

Laura holds a BS in Business and Economics from Lehigh University and earned an MBA at INSEAD, a leading European business school based in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys practicing yoga, running and going on hikes with her rescue dog, Bogey.

Benjamin Price

Junior Project Manager

Boston, United States

Benjamin Price

Ben focuses across a range of technologies to identify opportunities and build strategic partnerships between startups and Saint-Gobain’s family of companies. 

Prior to NOVA, Ben started his career in strategy consulting where he analyzed industries and competitive landscapes, developed innovation strategies and optimized product development and innovation processes at Accenture and Fuld + Company. 

Ben graduated from Union College with a Bachelor’s of Science and Arts in Economics and Psychology. His continuing education included an exchange program on Applied Economics at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Outside of work, Ben enjoys travelling, skiing and training for the Boston Marathon.

Michelle Dawson

Senior Project Manager, External Ventures

Boston, United States

Michelle Dawson

Located in the Boston area, Michelle focuses on building strategic alliances with our High Performance Materials businesses. She has worked in various functions of Saint-Gobain’s Abrasives business, including Strategy, Supply Chain, Sales and Marketing. She has helped with acquisitions and divestments, world class manufacturing initiatives, product line startups and relocations as well as working capital optimization, among other key focus areas.

Prior to joining Saint-Gobain, Michelle worked as a consultant in the Metals and Paper industries for Arthur D. Little, a consulting company based in Cambridge, MA.

She holds an Engineering degree in Systems from Universidad Metropolitana in Venezuela and an MBA from Cornell University.

Michelle is fluent in three languages. Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis, skiing and visiting arts and craft fairs everywhere she travels.

Adarsh Sowcar

External Ventures Project Manager

Boston, United States

Adarsh Sowcar

Adarsh focuses on a wide range of technology areas to identify & building strategic partnerships between startups & Saint-Gobain’s Performance Plastics & Adfors Business Units.

Prior to joining Saint-Gobain, Adarsh worked in various Product Management & Marketing Strategy roles with Kennametal, InVue Inc & Saint-Gobain India. Adarsh holds an MBA from Hult International Business School in Boston & Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University in India. Outside of work, Adarsh enjoys learning history, cooking for his family & exploring nature.

Core Team - Europe

Paula González Díaz

External Ventures Project Manager

Paris, France

Paula González Díaz

Based in Paris, Paula seeks the best startups from all over the world to build strategic partnerships with Saint-Gobain’s family of companies for mutual growth. She focuses on innovative solutions to increase the comfort and well-being of building occupants, as well as robotic solutions to gain productivity at job sites.

Prior to joining NOVA in 2014, she worked for 13 years at Saint-Gobain locations in Spain, France and China, starting her career in various operating roles such as Specialty Glass Quality Manager, Production and Processing Line Manager before moving to a role as the R&D Manager for teams focused on the development and validation of new products and processes for the Saint-Gobain Innovative Materials sector.

Paula holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Oviedo with an Erasmus Stay at the University of Surrey.

Her passions include dancing and traveling around the world to discover and learn from different cultures.

Delphine Hautoy

External Ventures Project Manager

Paris, France

Delphine Hautoy

Based in Paris, Delphine focuses on startups exploring augmented and virtual realities that may have both internal and external applications for Saint-Gobain’s family of companies across the world.

Her most extensive past experience involves talent management roles, where she oversaw different leadership and succession planning programs across a range of industries, enabling her to tap into her diverse experiences to share best practices across industries in a systemic way.

At NOVA, Delphine enjoys connecting the dots among businesses, people and ideas, always keeping in mind her belief that these things are stronger together. She recently set up AR pilots in plants and used this focus on next-gen manufacturing to support initiatives surrounding Industry 4.0, including implementing a digital solution for Saint-Gobain’s construction products contractors to make quotes and sales to homeowners more efficient.

Delphine graduated with a Master’s in Business Management from SKEMA Business School, former ESC Lille.

Delphine enjoys traveling, discovering new cities and different cuisines, and cooking for her friends.

Connect on LinkedIn

Jonathan Bainée

Junior Project Manager

Paris, France

Jonathan Bainée

Jonathan identifies new opportunities for collaborations between startups and Saint-Gobain’s family of companies with a focus on the digital consumer journey and the wide range of technologies that aim to enhance building occupant comfort and well-being.

Before joining NOVA, Jonathan worked as a lecturer at the engineering school ENSTA ParisTech and for a French public organization dedicated to the promotion of photonics technologies and industries.

Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Paris-Sorbonne University, where he studied technical and business model issues applied to cleantech, especially in transport.

He enjoys taking road trips to explore countries around the world.

  LinkedIn 

Raphaël Lanté

External Ventures Project Manager

Paris, France

Raphaël Lanté

Located in Paris, Raphaël focuses on building strategic partnerships in the field of sensors and connected objects. He has worked in product development for various businesses within Saint-Gobain’s family of companies, bringing multiple products to the market, from flat-coated glass patterned by laser to fiberglass with nanoscale coatings.

He holds a M.Sc. degree in Chemistry from CPE Lyon.

Raphaël is fluent in four languages, thanks to his professional experiences abroad. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling and cooking for his family.

Core Team - Asia-Pacific

Claude-Sébastien Lerbourg

External Ventures Project Manager

Shanghai, China

Claude-Sébastien Lerbourg

Claude helps structure collaborations between Saint-Gobain businesses and startups in Asia-Pacific. 

Before joining the NOVA team, Claude worked for nearly 10 years at Saint-Gobain Abrasives in China. He started as a product engineer for construction products and spent the last four years as the automotive aftermarket business manager, leading the sales and product teams to adapt and import high-end solutions for this market.

Claude graduated from the ESSEC Business School in France. He studied the Chinese language at Shanghai International Studies University in China and is fluent with full professional proficiency.

His hobbies include photography and aeronautics, but he spends most of his free time going out with friends and meeting new people.

Jing Zhou

Junior Project Manager

Shanghai, China

Jing Zhou

Based in Shanghai, Jing focuses across a range of technologies to identify opportunities and build strategic partnerships between startups and Saint-Gobain’s family of companies.

Prior to NOVA, Jing started her career in the role of management trainee with Metro Group where she worked in different business functions in China and also worked in Corporate innovation in Germany, she enjoyed connecting the dots among corporate, business units and entrepreneurs.

Jing holds a Master in International Management from Audencia Nantes Business School in France, before that, she got her Bachelor degree in German language and Literature from Nanjing Tech University, China.

In her spare time, Jing enjoys travelling, exploring new cities and meeting new people.

Support Team

Michel Boyer-Chammard

Senior Advisor

Paris, France

Michel Boyer-Chammard

Michel supports NOVA as Senior Advisor, providing material science opinions, insider knowledge and coaching services to the team of venture managers. He is also the primary NOVA contact for matters related to ceramics.

He serves in the Ceramic Materials Division of Saint-Gobain’s Innovative Materials Sector, overseeing corporate development and new businesses. A veteran in high-performance materials, he spent 13 years abroad and ran several business units over his career in Petroleum, Consulting and then Saint-Gobain since 2004.

Michel earned a Master’s from the Paris School of Mines (MEng) and an MBA from INSEAD.

An avid outdoorsman, Michel enjoys mountaineering and outdoor sports. He volunteers with the French Foreign Trade Advisors Association and with another association for underprivileged youth.

Florence Chanzy

Legal Director R&D and Innovation,
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain

Paris, France

Florence Chanzy

Florence advises the NOVA team on all legal aspects of its activities and assists it in developing and negotiating partnership agreements. She also acts as the interface between NOVA and Saint-Gobain’s legal departments.

Before joining Compagnie de Saint-Gobain in 2010 and taking on functions at NOVA, Florence worked for 29 years in different activities within Saint-Gobain, first as a lawyer and then as General Counsel, developing a broad experience in various fields of business law and especially in commercial contracts, greenfield operations, and mergers and acquisitions.

Florence holds a postgraduate degree in private law from the Universite Paris II Panthéon-Assas.

She practices Pilates and enjoys going for long walks armed with a camera to capture beautiful landscapes and take original photos.

Brigitte De Mattos

Executive Assistant

Paris, France

Brigitte De Mattos

As NOVA’s Executive Assistant, Brigitte helps the team organize travel, meetings and seminars and she publishes statistics on NOVA's startups portfolio every month.

She joined Saint-Gobain Innovative Materials Sector in 2010, beginning as Executive Assistant and working with both the Advanced Ceramics General Manager and NOVA Director before joining NOVA’s team full time in 2011. Brigitte’s career at Saint-Gobain has spanned a range of sectors, with executive assistant roles for HR and R&D executive leaders.

Brigitte likes to discover different countries and cultures. She has lived in Spain and in the U.S., and she has enjoyed traveling to foreign countries during her holidays.

Bénédicte Mano

Communications Officer

Paris, France

Bénédicte Mano

As NOVA’s Communications Officer, Bénédicte is dedicated to increasing its notoriety inside and outside Saint-Gobain, promoting partnerships and highlighting the work achieved with startups.

Prior to her role at NOVA, Bénédicte served in media relations and crisis communication roles for a retail company, and most recently, worked for the French Ministry of Defense where she was responsible for promoting innovative projects.

Bénédicte holds a Master’s degree in Communications from the CELSA Paris-Sorbonne University and Bachelor’s degrees in History from La Sorbonne and in Political Sciences from Sciences Po Bordeaux.

Outside of work, she practices Krav Maga, runs and plays squash, and she can talk about dogs for hours.

Lucile Charpentier

Regional Representative

São Paulo, Brazil

Lucile Charpentier

Originally from France, Lucile has lived in Brazil since 2014 and has served various functions within Saint-Gobain over the past 10 years, including roles in communications and employer branding, as well as high-value digital marketing to reach end-consumers and raise awareness of Saint-Gobain’s commercial brands portfolio.

In her role at NOVA, Lucile is responsible for fostering connections between regional ecosystems and Saint-Gobain businesses in South America, including identifying new disruptive technologies and new business approaches. She is particularly interested in solutions that create great living spaces, enhance efficiency, and improve the company’s processes to design and produce solutions for a better future.

Lucile’s hobbies include running – her goal is to one day run a marathon – as well as sharing her French culture, gastronomy and wine passions with the world, in Brazil and on Instagram.

Steffen Lammertz

Regional Representative

Aachen, Germany

Steffen Lammertz

At NOVA, Steffen is responsible for fostering connections between German ecosystems and Saint-Gobain businesses.

He started to work for Saint-Gobain in 2016 as head of digital in the Delegation Central Europe.

Previously, Steffen worked as wholesale concept manager at Telefonica Germany (former E-Plus), where he was developing digital innovations and value added services for the German telecommunications market. Two years later he became program manager at the United Digital Group in Düsseldorf, Germany. In this position, he was responsible for the holistic customer consulting and implementation of projects in the areas of customer experience management and digital marketing.

Steffen graduated in business law at Westfälische University of Applied Sciences.

In his spare time, he loves to ride his Mountain bike into the woods or go kitesurfing.

Markus Waetcher

Regional Representative

Aachen, Germany

Markus Waetcher

At NOVA, Markus is responsible for fostering connections between regional ecosystems and Saint-Gobain businesses.

Previously, Markus worked as a technology consultant for a German project management company, where he was supporting the activities on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a major focus on consultancy for research funding. Two years later he became Director Strategic Positioning at devolo AG, Aachen, Germany. In this position, he was the economic and technical project leader of 19 joint research projects within the smart grid, smart home, and industry 4.0 environment.

Markus graduated in electrical engineering at RWTH Aachen, where he also received his Ph.D. in the field of propagation of high frequency electromagnetic waves.

Outside of work, Markus is an endurance runner, and he tries to spend as much time as possible with his family. 

Srinivasamurthy Sampath

Regional Representative

Chennai, India

Srinivasamurthy Sampath

 
At NOVA, Srinivas provides technology and market information on an on-demand basis for companies in India. Srinivas has been working as the Lead Manager-Technology Information & IT at Saint-Gobain Research India in the Chennai area since 2013.

Srinivas has been in the field of industrial research since 1998 where he started as a scientist, characterizing and developing composites for 2-seater aircraft for National Aerospace Laboratories in Bangalore.  Later, he successfully led several state-of-the art semiconductor packaging development projects at the Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore. His passion for technology information led him to transition to General Electric Tech Centre in Bangalore to a career defining technology/IP and market opportunities leading to new research programs, product development, and problem solving. In his current role, he built the Information Research and IT function for the R&D centre of Saint-Gobain Research India. 
      
Srinivas holds a Master of Science in General Chemistry at the University of Madras and a Master of Engineering in Polymer Technology from Delhi College of Engineering. 

In his spare time, Srinivas likes to follow emerging applications for artificial intelligence. 

Andy Turner

Regional Representative

Coventry, United Kingdom

Andy Turner

At NOVA, Andy is responsible for fostering connections between UK & Ireland ecosystems and Saint-Gobain businesses.

He started to work for Saint-Gobain in 1996, spending the first eight years in operational multi-site management before moving into central business and then corporate development roles, progressing to his current position as Strategic Development Director for Saint-Gobain Delegation UK & Ireland at the end of 2015. His responsibilities include strategic and corporate development, M&A, joint ventures, business models, innovation, and the circular economy.

Andy graduated in civil engineering at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne before going on to focus on economic and financial appraisal in the construction sector.

In his spare time, he loves to socialize with family and friends and enjoys travel, rugby, cycling, and the great outdoors.

Matthew Baney

Regional Representative

Samrand, South Africa

Matthew Baney

At NOVA, Matthew is responsible for developing partnership opportunities between the Sub-Saharan startups ecosystem hubs and Saint-Gobain businesses.

Matthew started his career at Saint-Gobain as a Technical Support Specialist in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. His expertise in technical support and training management within the construction market was gained from almost ten years of management experience in the construction industry. 

Outside of work, Matthew likes to working out, canoeing, and getting involved with humanitarian aid.

 

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