Henri Seydoux

Founder & CEO
Parrot

In a few years Parrot has gone from a small French start-up to a world leader in wireless devices for mobile phones with the most extensive range of hands-free systems for vehicles in the market.

Atypical self-taught and self-made entrepreneur, the father of wireless hands-free systems for cars -who has never taken a driving test - has a flair for innovation. He draws most of his products and personally supervises all projects as well as the 300 engineers working in the R&D department of the company.

Henri Seydoux started his career in 1978, working as a journalist for "Actuel". It was during an interview with Roland Moreno, the inventor of the smart card, that he found his calling. He was 19 years old, gave up journalism and entered the world of computing and programming. He tinkered with software before creating his first company, specialized in 3D imaging (called BUF, this company is today the leader in computer-generated graphics).

In 1997, Henri Seydoux devised the Parrot+, the first electronic organizer with built-in voice recognition specially designed for the partially-sighted. It was a technological success but a commercial failure, despite the support of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

Nonetheless, Henri Seydoux was not one to admit defeat.

A true visionary, he quickly understood that mobile phones would become a key part of everyday life, including inside cars. In 1994, Henri Seydoux founded Parrot with one idea in mind: "put a phone in every car".

Parrot launched the 1st wired hands-free kit for cars in 1998 and the first wireless Bluetooth® hands-free kit in 2001. The commercial success story had begun and quickly spread to the international market.

But Henri Seydoux is not about to stop here. Mobile phones are turning into both cameras and music players. Drawing strength from the success of his hands-free systems and calling on his expertise in wireless technologies, he developed a range of high-end multimedia products to release the photos and tracks stored on mobile phones, both at home and wirelessly: in 2008, Henri Seydoux developed the “Parrot design by” collection by which he associates himself with big names in design.

“The design is also a use. The technological objects for the house must be as simple and elegant as a piece of furniture,” explains Henri Seydoux.“Nobody asks how a chair works. Design is important for this reason: work with designers which have a long experience in the design of furniture like Philippe Starck, Martin Szekely or Andree Putman is a form of innovation”.

Mobile phones, Smartphones have become true multimedia platforms with features adapted for games. If the development of a toy piloted by Bluetooth with a mobile phone was part of numerous company initiatives, the advent of Wi-Fi and the natural development of technologies opened new horizons, particularly in the video game area.

In 2010, Parrot caused surprise when presenting the AR.Drone, the first quadricopter piloted by Wi-Fi with a Smartphone. It flies like a dragonfly with two embedded cameras allowing the phone’s screen display what the AR.Drone is seeing. A real technological success, the AR.Drone creates a new era of video gaming with an object embracing both the real and virtual world.

“We invent nothing, we evolve what already exists. For example, Bluetooth allowed to ‘reinvent' the telephone in the car; like the iPod® reinvented the walkman,” Henri Seydoux concludes.