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Ulric Jerome, startup leader behind MatchesFashion and PIXmania, returns to campus

‘This visit is a unique opportunity to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs’
March 12, 2024
By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

A black and white photo of a man dressed in a black sweater and t-shirt sits with his hands folded in front of him looking into the camera. Ulric Jerome, BA 00

“Every successful business venture I’ve been a part of started off with unexpected conversations or encounters,” says Ulric Jerome, BA 00, ahead of a series of appearances at Concordia in early April.

It all began more than two decades ago for the Department of Economics grad with PIXmania, a pan-European e-commerce venture he co-launched with friends at the age of 21. It grew to become the largest such site on the continent, with sales of $1 billion, and was sold in 2006.

Later, with MatchesFashion, Jerome showcased a strategic blend of fashion sense and tech savvy, and helped propel that business from $50 million to $500 million in sales in just five years. He ultimately led the sale of the company for a reported $1 billion in 2017.

“This second significant venture started from a belief I had that luxury fashion online was totally underpenetrated back in 2012 and that a physical multi-brand store could be transformed into a global online player,” he explains. “But this could only be done with the right team that truly believed in making a real impact.”

Jerome’s entrepreneurial zeal endured after he left MatchesFashion as CEO in 2019.

He has since invested in a number of startups across diverse sectors. As a board member, he provides counsel for businesses such as, a premier pet products website in Europe, and Byredo, a major luxury fragrance and lifestyle brand.

Notably, as a board member of Paddy Power, Jerome contributed his expertise to the 2015 merger that created the world’s largest online betting company by revenue.

His investment approach also has a philanthropic side, he says.

“I like to focus on biotech companies that have the potential for a significant impact on people’s lives, such as those developing drugs to treat conditions like autism or investing in the first portable MRI for ambulances, allowing for early diagnosis.”

‘I founded two businesses as a student at Concordia’

Jerome notes that his entrepreneurial roots trace all the way back to his father’s work in the textile industry, where a strong work ethic and a keen awareness of time was instilled.

“I developed a paranoia over the finite notion of time and wanted to try to take as many risks as I could as an entrepreneur between the ages of 17 to 21,” he recalls.

This eagerness coincided with Jerome’s decision to move from Paris to Montreal to study. Montreal’s vibrant student life and the quality of institutions like Concordia were instrumental in that decision, he says.

As an undergraduate, he was awarded exceptional support from professors who encouraged his extracurricular pursuits.

“I founded two businesses as a student at Concordia. The first was an investment fund that specialized in options trading on small caps — it was super risky and volatile — and the second was an online community portal and printed magazine made by students for students.

“At no time did I ever feel that my teachers were restricting me, which I now realize was extraordinary. I can’t be thankful enough.”

After 25 years, Jerome is set to return to Concordia on April 2 and 3 for a series of events, discussions and tours.

The visit will include a guest lecture for entrepreneurship students at the John Molson School of Business, and a keynote address on campus hosted by the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business.

Jerome’s return to Montreal comes at a time when his alma mater’s entrepreneurship bona fides are peaking.

Last October, John Molson’s MBA ranked second in Canada for learning and entrepreneurship; in December, the Princeton Review ranked the school among the top worldwide for entrepreneurship studies.

“This visit is a unique opportunity to share my experiences and hopefully inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Jerome. “I’m super excited to be back on campus.”


“From Zero to 1 Billion: Exponential Growth in the Entrepreneurial Journey,” will be presented by Ulric Jerome on Sir George Williams Campus on April 2. Learn more and register for the event.


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