Skip to main content
About HEC About HEC
Summer School Summer School
Faculty & Research Faculty & Research
Master’s programs Master’s programs
Bachelor Programs Bachelor Programs
MBA Programs MBA Programs
PhD Program PhD Program
Executive Education Executive Education
HEC Online HEC Online
About HEC
Overview Overview
Who
We Are
Who
We Are
Egalité des chances Egalité des chances
HEC Talents HEC Talents
International International
Campus
Life
Campus
Life
Sustainability Sustainability
Diversity
& Inclusion
Diversity
& Inclusion
Stories Stories
The HEC
Foundation
The HEC
Foundation
Summer School
Youth Programs Youth Programs
Summer programs Summer programs
Online Programs Online Programs
Faculty & Research
Overview Overview
Faculty Directory Faculty Directory
Departments Departments
Centers Centers
Chairs Chairs
Grants Grants
Knowledge@HEC Knowledge@HEC
Master’s programs
Master in
Management
Master in
Management
Master's
Programs
Master's
Programs
Double Degree
Programs
Double Degree
Programs
Bachelor
Programs
Bachelor
Programs
Summer
Programs
Summer
Programs
Exchange
students
Exchange
students
Student
Life
Student
Life
Our
Difference
Our
Difference
Bachelor Programs
Overview Overview
Course content Course content
Admissions Admissions
Fees and Financing Fees and Financing
MBA Programs
MBA MBA
Executive MBA Executive MBA
TRIUM EMBA TRIUM EMBA
PhD Program
Overview Overview
HEC Difference HEC Difference
Program details Program details
Research areas Research areas
HEC Community HEC Community
Placement Placement
Job Market Job Market
Admissions Admissions
Financing Financing
Executive Education
Home Home
About us About us
Management topics Management topics
Open Programs Open Programs
Custom Programs Custom Programs
Events/News Events/News
Contacts Contacts
HEC Online
Overview Overview
Degree Program Degree Program
Executive certificates Executive certificates
MOOCs MOOCs
Summer Programs Summer Programs
Youth programs Youth programs
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center

Trone, the startup that reinvents a boring occasion and makes it a memorable experience

Last year, we introduced you to Hugo Volpei and his start-up Trone, incubated at Station F, with his mission of revolutionizing the way we see toilets. The entrepreneur has successfully accomplished this mission, sparing no expense to create exquisite experiences throughout France and in Switzerland, Slovakia, Holland and Lebanon.

Trone

If you haven’t yet experienced it for yourself, head to one of the restaurants founded by Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux (both HEC Alumni).  Their Big Mamma chain of restaurants has locations in Paris, Lille, Lyon and London. Have a seat on a throne at the La Felicita restaurant and enjoy one of several unique atmospheres. You’re in for a treat! 
Rumor has it that the chain will expand to add three locations in France and abroad this year. 

We recently had a chance to discover Trone in a new environment at the opening in the Opera district in Paris of the first pastry shop by Cédric Grolet (see). Grolet is a star of Instagram and was voted the world’s best pastry chef in 2018.
“La Scène”, a restaurant founded by Top Chef’s Stéphanie Le Quellec, and architects Toro & Liautard also contacted Hugo Volpei to offer their customers this unique experience. 

The fast-growing start-up is starting the new year with a recruitment campaign that is currently underway and fundraising planned for February. Most importantly, it is launching a new offer focused on “user needs”, with a new generation of toilets set to be marketed by the end of the year, featuring even more original designs and the elimination of unwelcome odours! 

Stay tuned for more! 

 

Meet Hugo Volpei H2017

Hugo Volpei

Who are you? 

I’m originally from Nice and have been in Paris for around ten years now. I have always been interested in everything that relates to lifestyle and daily life. When I was younger, I bought T-shirts that I painted and sold. I was also very drawn to architecture as a profession. I promised myself that someday I would work with this field in one way or another. I also wanted to start a restaurant, which I will definitely do someday. 
During my first year at HEC, I had the opportunity to do an exchange program with Parsons School of Design in New-York, and it really inspired me. 
Through my various experiences, I realized that I wanted to create a physical product that would bring renewed delight to everyday life through a strong brand. Trone is now enabling me to combine all the things I enjoy—design, architecture, craftsmanship, and restaurants (many of our customers are restaurant owners). I love to take the raw materials of daily life and redesign them to create something nicer, cool and more beautiful.


Where did you get the idea for Trone? 

When I was visiting a friend in London, we went to a restaurant called Sketch where there is an entire room for the toilets. It is an experience in itself, with amazing decoration, changing lights, and sound effects. They offer an extraordinary experience. But once you go in the stall, it’s all over. The toilets are just white and boring.
When I left the restaurant, I realized there was a real opportunity here to reinvent a boring occasion and make it a memorable experience. 
The idea was to reinvent something that had never been reinvented before. Today, this is still our vision: capitalize on our experience with toilets and eventually reinvent other everyday objects. 
Trone brings together design, architecture, and the hotel and restaurant industry. I take the things I love and combine them to create a unique experience, reflecting our brand’s DNA in a way that turns simple trip to the bathroom into a unique and unforgettable experience. 


What would you have done if you hadn't become an entrepreneur? 

If I hadn’t become an entrepreneur... I would have liked to be a secret agent! (laughs).
Seriously though, I think I would have gotten into the restaurant business, architecture or landscaping, which also offer opportunities for entrepreneurship and reinventing daily life.


How has the HEC incubator helped you? 

It created many connections, both with the experts from the incubator who support us and provide valuable assistance with the challenges involved in Trone’s various stages of development, and with other start-ups. 
It’s a network of daily mutual assistance, in which we can all contact each other and ask questions, based our needs, skills and affinities. 
The HEC incubator and Station F also provided a framework, structure and greater exposure, which is no small matter, especially when it comes to recruitment.


What do you wish you had known before you started your own company? 

Something they don't tell you enough and that is critical–you have to be able to pick up the phone and call people. To find contracts and customers, but especially to ask for help or advice. The HEC network is an amazing resource, whenever you’re facing a problem related to a specific issue, you can find a member who is skilled in the area to offer guidance. It is an amazing time saver and the assistance is priceless. 


What do you see as the key qualities for an entrepreneur? 

I would say resilience, optimism and energy on a daily basis (fairly “conventional” qualities) but also the ability to engage with your teams, to have a goal that you are moving towards, to constantly keep the big picture in mind so you can keep aiming higher. Being a good leader means gathering people to work on a project that was not theirs to begin with. It means communicating the desire to invest in the project’s success and fully take part in the adventure. We can’t do anything by ourselves; we won't go anywhere without a team. Personally, I have decided to be completely transparent with my team so that everyone feels integrated and understood.