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 Venture 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.

Delphine Hautoy

External Venturing Project Manager

Boston, United States

Delphine Hautoy

Based in North America, 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.

Raphaël Lanté

External Venturing Project Manager

Boston, United States

Raphaël Lanté

Located in the Boston area, 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 - Europe

Paula González Díaz

External Venturing 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.

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.

Core Team - Asia-Pacific

Claude-Sébastien Lerbourg

External Venturing 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.

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.

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