Soft Landing

Soft Landing: A partnership between European incubators for developing international innovation

Projets européens H2020How can European startups be encouraged to reach beyond their countries’ borders to develop internationally? How can they come together to form new collaborations? The Soft Landing project, in which business incubator IMT Starter is participating, allows growing startups and SMEs to discover the ecosystems of different European incubators. The goal is to offer them support in developing their business internationally. 


Europe certainly acknowledges the importance of each country developing its own ecosystem of startups and SMEs, yet each ecosystem is developing independently,” explains Augustin Rads, business manager at IMT Starter. The Soft Landing project, which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, seeks to find a solution to this problem. “The objective is, on the one hand to promote exchanges between the different startup and SME ecosystems, and on the other hand to provide these companies with a more global vision of the European market beyond their borders,” he explains.

Soft Landing resulted from collaboration between five European incubators: Startup Division in Lithuania, Crosspring Lab in the Netherlands, GTEC in Germany,  F6S Network in the UK, and IMT Starter, the incubator run by Télécom SudParis and Télécom École de Management in Évry, France. As part of the project, each of these stakeholders must first discover the startup and SME ecosystems developing in their partners’ countries. Next, interested startups that see a need for this support will be able to temporarily join an incubator abroad, for a limited period.


Discovering each country’s unique characteristics

Over the course of the two-year project, representatives from each country will visit partner incubators to discover and learn about the startup ecosystem that is developing there. The representatives are also seeking to identify specific characteristics, skills, and potential markets in each country that could interest startups in their own country. “Each country has its specific areas of interest: the Germans work a lot on the theme of the industry, whereas in the Netherlands and Lithuania, the projects are more focused on FinTech, “Augustin Radu adds. “At IMT Starter, we are more focused on information technologies.”

Once they have completed these discovery missions, the representatives will return to their countries’ startups to present the potential opportunities. “At IMT Starter, we have planned a mission in Germany in March, another in the Netherlands in April, in May we will host a foreign representative, and in June we will go to Lithuania,” Augustin Radu explains. “There may be other missions outside the European Union as well, in the Silicon Valley and in India.


Hosting foreign startups in the incubators

Once each incubator’s specific characteristics and possibilities have been defined, the startups can request to be hosted by a partner ecosystem for a limited period. “As an incubator, we will host startups that will benefit from our customized support.” says Augustin Radu. “They will be able to move into our offices, take advantage of our network of industrial partners, and work with our researchers and laboratories. The goal is to help them find talent to help grow their businesses.

Of course, there is a selection process for startups that want to join an incubator,” the business manager adds. “What are their specific needs? Does this match the host country’s areas of specialization?” In addition, the startup or SME should ideally have an advanced level of maturity, be well rooted in its country of origin and have a product that is already finalized. According to Augustin Radu, these are the prerequisites for a company to benefit from this opportunity to continue its development abroad.


Remove barriers that separate startups and research development

While all four of the partner structures are radically different, they are all very well-rooted in their respective countries,” the business manager explains. IMT Starter is in fact the only incubator participating in this project that is connected to a higher education and research institution, IMT. A factor that Augustin Radu believes will greatly enhance the French incubator’s visibility.

In addition to fostering the development of startups abroad, the Soft Landing project also removes barriers between companies and the research community by proposing that researchers at schools associated with IMT Starter form partnerships with the young foreign companies. “Before this initiative, it was difficult to imagine a French researcher working with a German startup! Whereas today, if a young European startup joins our incubator because it needs our expertise, it can easily work with our laboratories.”

The project therefore represents a means of accelerating the development of innovation, both by building bridges between the research community and the startup ecosystem, as well as by pushing young European companies to seek an international presence. “For those of us in the field of information technology, if we don’t think globally we won’t get anywhere!” Augustin Radu exclaims. “When I see that in San Francisco, companies immediately think about exporting outside the USA, I know our French and European startups need to do the same thing!” This is a need the Soft Landing project seeks to fulfill by broadening the spectrum of possibilities for European startups. This could allow innovations produced in the Old World to receive the international attention they deserve.


Vizity: explore the city with digital maps

The startup Vizity, incubating at ParisTech Entrepreneurs, seeks to reinvent how content is shared online. It has developed a mapping solution that combines online resources related to a place, making them more easily accessible for users.


Timothée Lairet, Co-fondateur de Vizity

Timothée Lairet, Co-founder of Vizity

“To talk about places, nothing beats a map,” Timothée Lairet assures us. By reminding us of this often-forgotten truth, the young entrepreneur sums up the purpose behind Vizity, the startup he cofounded. Because what better way to combine resources about cities from blogs, online travel guides, city hall and tourist offices than with a map? This is exactly what the startup proposes to do, “We gather these different types of content and combine them on a map to make them more accessible,” Timothée Lairet explains.

For now, the startup incubated at ParisTech Entrepreneurs works with each stakeholder independently. When working with the tourist office for a city or region, for example, it first creates a map of the geographical area, which will be added to the organization’s website. Then, Vizity can dynamically link an article from the tourist office’s website to an area on the map. A blogpost about an exhibition at a museum, or the history of a castle will be displayed when a site visitor explores these areas on the map.

The solution addresses a problem faced by tourists who do are not familiar with an area. “They know the information is out there, but don’t know how to look for it,” the co-founder explains. It is hard to find information about a village market, for example, if you don’t even know the market exists. But with the map, the site user sees the event on the map as a point of interest. By clicking on the linked content, the tourist can find opening hours for the market and what vendors will be there, and then decide whether or not to go.

Besides tourists, residents of big cities can also benefit from this solution. In a city inhabited by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, it’s easy to miss out on an event we’re interested in that took place just a few minutes from home. Blogs that offer ideas for outings would benefit from having their latest updates included on a map that would be open to users. This would ensure we never miss the information added to our neighborhood map.

Thanks to Vizity maps, the different producers of content about a place, whether it be bloggers, companies or administration services, can offer their own view of the city’s places of interest and share it with others. By combining informational content for each site, they offer unique content curation and can recommend original tour ideas to their customers and users.

Towards a new form of map media?

The startup’s long-term goal is to offer a comprehensive map that would be open to users and bring together different types of content for the same location. Information on an exhibition at a prestigious museum, historical information about the museum’s building, and a review for the associated gourmet restaurant would all be available on the same map, even though the content would be from different websites.

Tanguy Abel, Co-fondateur de Vizity

Tanguy Abel, Co-founder of Vizity

And while the idea of combining a map and reviews could make you think of Google Maps, the comparison stops there. For Timothée Lairet, the goal is not to produce another review aggregator, but to focus on content with a high added value for users, written by professionals or a circle of close friends. The map must allow users to access a wealth of valid and valuable information.

By pairing this solution with the geolocation of users, Vizity also hopes to offer new services. For a start, tourist offices could better understand their visitors’ behaviors and better meet their needs, making their stay more enjoyable. More importantly, based on past visits, users could determine options for their next visit, and save their preferences. When travelling abroad, we would just need to tell the Vizity app what we’re looking for, and it would propose a visit that matches the experience we want. In short, a new way to explore locations off the beaten track.



Eikosim improves the dialogue between prototyping and simulation

Simulate. Prototype. Measure. Repeat. Developing an industrial part inevitably involves these steps. First comes the digital model. Then, its characteristics are assessed through simulation, after which, the first version of the part is built. The part must then be subject to mechanical stress to assess its resistance and be closely observed from every angle. The test results will be used to improve the modelling, which will produce a new prototype… and so the cycle continues until a satisfactory version is produced. But Renaud Gras and Florent Mathieu want to reduce the repetitions involved in this cycle, which is why they created Eikosim, a startup that has been incubating at Paristech Entrepreneurs for one year. They develop software specialized in helping engineers with these design stages.

So, what is the key to saving as much time as possible? Facilitating the comparison between the digital tests and the measurements. Eikosim meets this need by integrating the measurement results recorded during testing directly into the part’s digital model. Any deformation, cracking or change in the mechanical properties is therefore recorded in the digital version of the object. The engineers can then easily compare the changes measured during the tests with those predicted during simulation, and therefore automatically correct the simulation so that it better reflects reality. What this startup offers is a breakthrough solution, since the traditional alternative involves storing the real measurements in a data table, and creating algorithms for manually readjusting the part through simulation. A tedious and time-consuming process.

Another strength the startup has to offer: its software can optimize the measurements of prototypes, for example by facilitating the positioning of observation cameras. One of the challenges is to ensure their actual position is well calibrated to correctly record the movements. To achieve this, the cameras are usually positioned using an alignment jig and arranged using a complex procedure which, again, is time-consuming. But the Eikosim software makes it possible to directly record the cameras’ positions on a digital model of the part. Since an alignment jig is no longer needed, the calibration is much faster. The technology is therefore compatible with large-scale parts, such as the chassis of trains. These dimensions are too large for technology offered by competitors, which struggles to arrange many cameras around such enormous parts.

The startup’s solutions have won over manufacturers, especially in aeronautics. The sector innovates materials, but must constantly address safety constraints. The accuracy of the simulations is therefore essential. In this industry, 20% of engineers’ time is spent making comparisons between simulation and real tests. The powerful software developed by Eikosim is therefore represents an enormous advantage in reducing development times.

The founders

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Florent Mathieu - Eikosim

Florent Mathieu

Renaud Gras - Eikosim

Renaud Gras and Florent Mathieu founded Eikosim after completing a thesis at the ENS Paris-Saclay Laboratory of Mechanics and Technology. Equipped with their expertise in understanding the mechanical behavior of materials by instrumenting tests using imaging techniques, they now want to use their startup to pass these skills on to the manufacturing industry.

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startup Footbar

IoT: How to find your market? Footbar’s story

In the connected objects sector, the path to industrialization is rarely direct. Finding a market sometimes requires adapting the product, strategic repositioning, a little luck, or a combination of all three. Footbar is a striking example of how a startup can revise its original strategy to find customers while maintaining its initial vision. Sylvain Ract, one of the founders of the startup incubated at Télécom ParisTech, takes a look back at the story of his company.


Can you summarize the idea you had at the start of the Footbar project?

Sylvain Ract: My business partner and I wanted to make technology accessible to the entire soccer world. Professionals players have their statistics, but amateurs do not have much. The idea was to boost players’ enjoyment of the game by providing them with more information on their performance. My training in embedded systems at Télécom ParisTech was decisive in our choice to develop a connected object ourselves. This approach gave us more freedom than if we had started with an existing object, such as an activity tracker, and improved it with our own algorithms.

Where did you search for your first customers?

SR: When we started in 2015, we had a difficult time trying to sell our sensors to amateur clubs. The problem is, these organizations do not have much money. Outside of the professional level, clubs barely have the resources to purchase players’ jerseys and pay travel expenses. Another approach was to see the players as providing some of their own equipment; we could therefore directly target them as individuals. But mass-producing millions of sensors was too costly for a startup like ours.

How did you find your market?

SR: A little by chance. When we were just getting started we conducted a crowdfunding campaign. It was not successful because amateur players’ interest did not convert into financial contributions. This made us realize that the retail market was still immature. On the other hand, this campaign helped spread the word about our project. Later, the Foot à 5 Soccer Park network contacted us expressing interest in our sensors. The players who attend their centers are already used to an improved game experience since the matches are filmed. They were interested in going even further.

How did this meeting change things for you?

SR: The fact that Soccer Park films the players’ matches is a huge plus for us. This allowed us to create an enormous annotated database. We can also visually follow players who wear our device in their shin guards and clearly connect the facts observed during the game with the data from our devices’ accelerometers. We were therefore able to greatly improve our artificial intelligence algorithms. From a business perspective, we were able to expand our network to include other Foot à 5 centers in France and abroad, which gave us new perspectives.

What are your thoughts on this change of direction?

SR: Strangely enough, today we feel we are very much in line with our initial idea. Over the years we have changed our approach several times, whether from doubts or difficulties, but in the end, our current positioning is consistent with the idea of providing amateurs with this technology. We have a product that exists, customers who appreciate it and use it for enjoyment. What we are interested in is being involved in using digital technology to redefine how sports are experienced, in this case soccer. In the long-term, artificial intelligence will likely become increasingly prevalent in the competitive aspect, but the professional environment is not as big a market as one might think. Helping amateurs change the way they play is a challenge better suited to our startup.



Cyrating: a trusted third-party for cybersecurity assessment

Cyrating, a startup incubating at ParisTech Entrepreneurs, provides organizations the service of assessing their performance and efficiency in cybersecurity. By positioning itself as a trust third-party, it is meeting the needs of companies for an objective analysis of their cyber risk. The service allows companies to assess their position relative to competitors.


In the cybersecurity sector, Cyrating intends to play a role that organizations are often asking for, but as yet has never been provided: that of a trusted third-party. The startup that has been incubating at ParisTech Entrepreneurs since last September offers to assess the cybersecurity performance of public and private companies. The rating they receive allows them to position themselves relative to their competitors, as well as define areas for improvement and determine the cybersecurity level of their subsidiaries and suppliers.

Regardless of the type of company, the startup bases its assessment on the same criteria. This results in objective ratings that are not dependent on the organization’s size or structure. “For example, we look at the level of protection for domain names, company websites, email services…” explains François Gratiolet, co-founder of Cyrating. He calls these criteria “facts” and they are supplemented by an analysis of “events” such as a data breach or the hosting of malware on the internal server.

Cyrating processes a set of observable data with the aim of uncovering these facts and events related to the organization’s cybersecurity. They are then measured against best practices in order to obtain a rating. Based on assessment algorithms, metrics and ratings are automatically calculated by category. The organizations evaluated by Cyrating therefore obtain a clear view of their efficiency in a variety of cybersecurity issues, in addition to the overall rating. This enables them to identify the measures they must immediately implement to improve their protection and optimize their allocation of financial and human resources.

Unlike auditing and consulting firms, Cyrating’s service does not require any intervention in the organizations’ departments or offices. There is no need to install any software or equipment. Furthermore, the service is based on a subscription system. The rating is ongoing throughout the entire subscription period. Therefore, as they track the changes in their rating, organizations can immediately observe the impact of their actions.

The startup is the first of its kind in Europe. And few startups are offering this type of service on a global level. “It’s a business that is booming in the United States,” says François Gratiolet. This early entry into the European market is a serious advantage for Cyrating, whose business relies on a powerful platform that can be scaled up: as the time the company has been assessing organizations increases, the more attractive their rating system becomes. The startup officially launched its business in Lille in January 2018, at the International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC)—the largest European trade show in the sector. Over the course of the startup’s development and the creation of its use cases—still very recent, since the startup is only a few months old—it has already assessed hundreds of companies. “A year from now we expect to have rated over 50,000 organizations” the co-founder predicts.

The first businesses to be won over by Cyrating’s services were large and intermediate-sized companies. “They see the opportunity to measure the performance of their suppliers and subsidiaries, and optimize their audit cycles,” François Gratiolet explains. But insurance providers could also be interested in this service, as well as agencies that want to purchase data blocks for statistical purposes. By positioning itself as a trusted third-party, the startup could quickly become a key player in cybersecurity in France and Europe.


DessIA: Engineering of the Future with Artificial Intelligence

What is the best architecture for the gearbox of a hybrid car? If an engineer had to answer that question, he would consider a handful of possibilities based on what already exists on the market. But the startup DessIA takes a whole different approach. Its artificial intelligence algorithms enable it to consider billions of different architectures to find the optimum configuration. The software developed by the young company digitally builds all the possible structures using the necessary components. The performance and the feasibility of the architectures built using this method are assessed, the design space is therefore intelligently explored to reduce the number of architectures physically tested. The automated, smart sorting keeps only the best architectures. In addition to the possibility of analyzing considerably more models than a human could, DessIA’s advantage is that the layouts created with its components are radically different from what already exists. “When we present our approaches to manufacturers, many of them say this is exactly the way they want to work, but they have no idea where to start,” say Pierre-Emmanuel Dumouchel and Steven Masfaraud, co-founders of the startup incubated at ParisTech Entrepreneurs.

For now, DessIA is specialized in subjects related to the transmission of mechanical power. It can work on both on gearboxes for cars and systems for transferring energy between a helicopter’s turbines and blades. The field itself is vast, and reflects the experience of its two founders, former employees of PSA. The issues can even include the mechatronic systems of complex electrically motorized mechanisms. The startup’s applications are limited to this subject because the algorithms’ work must be controlled by a thorough knowledge of the sector. Still, the two founders are not ruling out the possibility of someday moving towards providing assistance in the design of electrical or hydraulic systems. But not until a few years from now.

By remaining focused on mechanical systems, many opportunities have opened up for the young company. DessIA’s objective is to go beyond the mere optimization of architectures. Once the best structure has been determined, the ideal solution would be to have a very simple way of obtaining a 2D industrial plan, or even the 3D CAD model to directly integrate into the computer aided design software. The two founders intend to achieve this outcome by the end of 2018. If they succeed, they could redefine how mechanical systems are designed at the industrial level, from the reflection phases to drawing the part.


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Pierre-Emmanuel Dumouchel worked at PSA for 10 years. After supervising Steven Masfaraud’s thesis for three years, they decided to partner together to create DessIA. They aim to simplify the design process for engineers through a breakthrough approach based on artificial intelligence.

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Avec Smarter Time, Emmanuel Pont propose un outil puissant pour résoudre les problèmes d'organisation.

Smarter Time: your life in your pocket

The start-up Smarter Time participated in the Lisbon Web Summit, from November 6-9. The company is incubated at ParisTech entrepreneurs, and offers an activity and time management application which helps users to better organize their day-to-day lives, both personally and professionally.


“I’d love to, but I don’t have time!” This is probably one of the most telltale phrases of a lack of organization. New technologies are creating more extra time for us than ever before, especially thanks to faster transport and communication methods. The problem is that we don’t know how to manage this time. Checking social media, for example, can fill several hours of our day without us even realizing. Emmanuel Pont is the founder of the app Smarter Time, which allows users to measure and analyze their time management on a daily basis. He demonstrates the concept through client testimonies: “Studies show that people who feel overloaded with work actually have less to do than they think. We help them to understand that they are simply poorly organized.”

Helping people make this kind of analysis was his reason for founding the start-up, which is today incubated at ParisTech Entrepreneurs. The flourishing business was present for the second consecutive year at the Lisbon Web Summit, November 6-9, with the FrenchTech delegation. The app uses artificial intelligence technology and machine learning to monitor and optimize the user’s daily activities, whether personal or professional. “Every day Facebook and Google use these kinds of techniques to find out more about us and to encourage us to waste our time on their services”, Emmanuel Pont remarks. “I wanted to reverse that by helping people realize how they really manage their time”, he continues.

Smarter Time can locate exactly which room a smartphone is in. Once the app has been downloaded, the user does an initial tour of their house or their workplace, indicating what rooms they are entering as they go. Whether in the kitchen at home or at a desk in the workplace, each room has a unique Wi-Fi footprint defined by the intensity of the signals that it receives from nearby connection points. The app records this footprint and will then be able to recognize which room the smartphone is in.

Whenever the user changes rooms, Smarter Time associates this movement with the most likely activity depending on the user’s agenda, the time of day or past habits. Therefore, if the user routinely attends a meeting at 10am, or they always take their coffee break in a certain room, the app will soon automatically be able to detect these patterns. If it gets something wrong, the user can modify the name of the activity with a simple click. The contextual intelligence algorithms allow the app to very successfully associate the right activity to the appropriate moment in the day.

Manage activities with complete anonymity

Every activity can therefore be learnt and recorded by the app in a precise way: transport time, work, leisure, time with family, and so on. Still more detail can be added to each of these categories, for example by separating time spent in meetings from time spend at one’s desk, or time spent doing sport from time spent reading. Based on the “freemium” model, the app offers users the chance to upgrade from the free version to a subscription, adding a computer plug-in which measures time spent on each website or application.

In any case, “the user remains the master of their data”, Emmanuel Pont assures. “All algorithms operate exclusively within the smartphone, nothing leaves”, he explains. Users can also choose to save their data online to make it more secure. In any case, “data is never sold and remains securely contained”, the founder states.

By shedding light on their activities, the app allows users to better analyze their personal organization on a daily basis. They are then free to create time-management objectives that they will be reminded of regularly if these are not achieved. The start-up hopes to continue developing by offering users analyses and automatic advice through the app, making it a kind of electronic coach. “We are currently studying the extent of knowledge on sleep, to be able to, in time, recommend good practices to follow and suggest to users how to improve their habits”, Emmanuel Pont explains. The start-up has one objective in mind: enabling users to solve their concentration and organization problems. “When people discover to what extent they are wasting their time, they are generally happy to ditch social media in order to spend more time with their children”, he concludes.


Speakshake, shaking up distance language learning

The start-up Speakshake has created a communication platform for improving your foreign language speaking skills. As well as communication, it offers users a variety of learning tools to accompany their discussions. The platform has been recognized by the French Administration as a vehicle for integration of both French nationals abroad and foreigners in France.


Venezuela, Brazil, China, Chili… Fanny Vallantin spent several years working as an engineer in different countries, discovering new cultures and languages wherever she went. In order to maintain her skills and keep practicing all these languages, she created a program enabling her to communicate with her colleagues in different countries. From what began as a personal tool, she created a platform her friends could also use, and then a start-up. The result was the company Speakshake, incubated at ParisTech Entrepreneurs since April 2017.

The start-up offers a way of connecting two users who each want to mutually improve their skills in the other’s native language, via a web service. The two participants begin a 30-minute video discussion, split into two 15-minute halves, each carried out in one of the two languages. Because of the length of the conversation, access to the service requires users to have a basic level of practical skills. “You need to have the level of a tourist who can get by abroad, who can order a coffee in a bar, in the language you want to work on” explains Fanny Vallantin.

The service aims to give its users the tools to integrate themselves in a country, and so the conversations are directed towards cultural subjects. During the discussion, Shakespeak offers various documents on the country’s traditions, history or current events. The resources are prepared in collaboration with students at the Sorbonne Nouvelle university, the official partner institution of the platform. The subjects spark discussion, but are not imposed on the participants, who remain free to speak about whatever they want, and may browse through the resources available as they please.

The 15-minute conversation in the user’s language is based on their partner’s culture. A French person speaking with a German person will speak in French about German culture, and in German about their own culture. This structure means that users are continually learning about the foreign country, even when speaking their own language. The start-up currently has seven languages on offer: French, English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and Italian. The list is set to grow next September, to include Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian and Korean, with support from Ile-de-France tourism funds.

In addition to cultural resources, the start-up’s platform offers a host of digital tools for learning. For instance, the conversation interface includes an online chat feature for spelling out words. It also includes an online dictionary and translator. All words written in these interfaces can be added to the dashboard, which the user may look at once the conversation has finished. An oral and written report system allows users to give advice to their conversation partners, and to receive tips for their own improvement.

By focusing on oral learning through conversation, Speakshake takes a new approach in the language education sector, which is often centered around writing. And by providing educational tools, it offers an enriched communication service. This point of difference is what helped the start-up win the Quai d’Orsay hackathon in January, as a service helping young foreigners to be better integrated in France, and French expats to become integrated in their host country. The young company has also been recognized by L’Institut Français and the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs as the perfect tool for improving speaking skills in a foreign language.



Invenis: machine learning for non-expert data users

Invenis went into incubation at Station F at the beginning of July, and has since been developing at full throttle. This start-up has managed to make a name for itself in the highly competitive sector of decision support solutions using data analysis. Its strength? Providing easy-to-use software aimed at non-expert users, which processes data using efficient machine learning algorithms.


In 2015, Pascal Chevrot and Benjamin Quétier, both in the Ministry of Defense at the time, made an observation that made them want to launch a business. They considered that the majority of businesses were using outdated digital decision support tools that were increasingly ill-suited to their needs. “On the one hand, traditional software was struggling to adapt to big data processing and artificial intelligence”, Pascal Chevrot explains. “On the other hand, there were expert tools that existed but were inaccessible to anyone that didn’t have significant technical knowledge.” Faced with this situation, the two colleagues founded Invenis in November 2015 and joined the ParisTech Entrepreneurs incubator. On July 3, 2017, less than two years later, they joined Station F, one of the biggest start-up campuses in the world located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.

The start-up is certainly appealing: it aims to rectify the lack of available decision support tools with SaaS software (Software as a Service). Its goal is to make the value provided by data available to people that manipulate them every day in order to obtain information, but who are by no means experts. Invenis therefore targets professionals that know how to extract data and use it to obtain information, but who find themselves limited by the capabilities of the tools that they use when they want to go further. Through their solution, Invenis allows these professionals to carry out data processing using machine learning algorithms, simply.

Pascal Chevrot illustrates how simple it is to use, with an example. He takes two data sets and uploads them to Invenis: one is the number of sports facilities per activity and per department, and the other is the population by city in France. The user can then choose what kind of data processing they wish to perform from a library of modules. For example, they could first decide to group the different kinds of sports facilities (football stadiums, boules pitches, swimming pools, etc.) according to regions in France. In parallel, the software will then aggregate the number of inhabitants per commune in order to provide a population value on a regional scale. Once each of these actions has been completed, the user can then carry out an automated segmentation, or “clustering”, in order to classify regions into different groups according to the density of sports facilities in that particular region. In a few clicks, Invenis thus allows users to visualize the regions that have the highest number of sports facilities and those with a low number in relation to the population size, and which should therefore be invested in. Each process carried out on the data is done simply by dragging a processing module into the interface associated with the desired procedure and using this to create a full data processing session.

The user-friendly nature of the Invenis software lies in how simple it is to use these processing modules. Every action has been designed to be simple for the user to understand. The algorithms come from open source libraries Hadoop and Spark, which are references in the sector. “We then add our own algorithms to these existing algorithms, making them easier to manage”, highlights Pascal Chevrot.

For example, the clustering algorithm they use ordinarily requires a certain number of factors to be defined. Invenis’ processing module automatically calculates these factors using its proprietary algorithms. It does, however, allow expert users to modify these if necessary.

In addition to how simple it is to use, the Invenis program has other advantages, namely a close management of data access rights. “Few tools do this”, affirms Pascal Chevrot, before demonstrating the advantages of this function: “For some businesses, such as telecommunication operators, it’s important because they have to report to the CNIL (National Commission for Data Protection and Liberties) for the confidentiality of their data, and soon this will also be the case in Europe, with the arrival of GDPR. Not forgetting that more established businesses have implemented data governance over these questions.”


Revealing the value of data

Another advantage of Invenis is that it offers different frameworks. The start-up offers free trial periods to any data users who are using tools they are not satisfied with, along with the opportunity to talk to the technical management team who can demonstrate the tool’s capabilities and even develop proof of concept. However, the start-up also has a support and advice service for businesses that have identified a problem that they would like to solve using their data. “We offer clients guaranteed results, assisting them to resolve their problem with the intention of ultimately making them independent”, explains the co-founder.

It was within this second format that Invenis realized its most iconic proof of concept with CityTaps, another start-up from ParisTech Entrepreneurs that offers prepaid water meters. Using the Invenis software allowed CityTaps to look at three questions. Firstly, how do users consume water in terms of days of the week, size of household, season, etc.? Secondly, what is the optimal moment to warn a user that they need to top up their meter, and would they be quick to do this after receiving an alert SMS? And finally, how can we best predict temperature changes in the meters due to the weather? Invenis provided many responses to these questions by using their processing solutions on CityTaps’ data.

The case of CityTaps shows to what extent data management tools are crucial for companies. Machine learning and intelligent data processing are essential in generating value. However, these technologies can sometimes be difficult to access due to insufficient technical knowledge. Enabling businesses to access this value by reducing access costs in terms of skills is Invenis’ number one aim. As Pascal Chevrot concludes, the key is to provide “”.

human resources

How is technology changing the management of human resources in companies?

In business, digital technology is revolutionizing more than just production and design. The human resources sector is also being greatly affected; whether that be through better talent spotting, optimized recruitment processes or getting employees more involved with the company’s vision. This is illustrated though two start-ups incubated at ParisTech Entrepreneurs, KinTribe and Brainlinks.


Recruiters in large companies can sometimes store tens of thousands of profiles in their databases. However, it often difficult to make use of such a substantial pool of information using conventional methods. “It’s impossible to keep such a large file up-to-date, so the data often become obsolete very quickly”, states Chloé Desault, a former in-company recruiter and co-founder of the start-up KinTribe. “Along with Louis Laroche, my co-founder who was also formerly a recruiter, we aim to facilitate the use of these talent pools and improve the daily lives of recruiters”, she adds. The software solution enables recruitment professionals to create a recruitment pool using professional social networks. With KinTribe, they are able to create a usable database, in which they can perform complex searches in order to find the best person to contact for their need, from tens of thousands of available profiles. “This means they no longer have to waste time on people that do not correspond to the target in question”, affirms the co-founder.

The software’s algorithms can then process the collected data to produce a rating for the relevant market. This rating indicates to what extent a person is susceptible to an external recruitment offer. “70% of people on LinkedIn aren’t actively looking for a job, but would still consider a job offer if it was presented to them”, Louis Laroche explains. In order to identify these people, and to what extent they are likely to be interested, the algorithm is based on key values identified by recruiters. Age, field of work and duration of last employment are all factors that can influence how open someone is to a proposition.

One of the start-up’s next goals is to add new sources of data into the mix, allowing their users to go on other networks to find new talents. Multiplying the available data will also allow them to improve the market rating algorithms. “We want to provide recruiters with the best possible knowledge by aggregating the maximum amount of social data that we can”; summarizes the KinTribe co-founder.

Finally, the two entrepreneurs are also interested in other topics within in the field of recruitment. “As a start-up, we have to try to stay ahead of the curve and understand what the market will do next. We dedicated part of our summer to exploring the potential of a new co-optation product” Chloé concludes.


From recruitment to employee involvement

In human resources, software tools represent more than just an opportunity for recruiting new talent. One of their aims is also to get employees involved in the company’s vision, and to listen to them in order to pinpoint their expectations. The start-up Brainlinks was created for this very reason. Today, it offers a mobile app called Toguna for businesses with over 150 people.

The concept is simple: with Toguna, general management or human resources departments can ask employees a question such as: “What is your view of the company of the future?” or “What new things would you like to see in the office?” The employees, who remain anonymous on the app, can then select the questions they are interested in and offer responses that will be made public. If a response made by a colleague is interesting, other employees can vote for it, thus creating a collective form of involvement based on questions about life at work.

In order to make Toguna appeal to the maximum number of people, Brainlinks has opted for a smart, professional design: “Contributions are formatted by the person writing them; they can add an image and choose the font, etc.”, explains Marc-Antoine Garrigue, the start-up’s co-founder. “There is an element of fun that allows each person to make their contributions their own”, he continues. According to Marc-Antoine Garrigue, this feature has helped them reach an average employee participation rate of 85%.

Once the votes have been cast and the propositions collected, managers can analyze the responses. When a response is chosen, it is highlighted on the app, providing transparency in the inclusion of employee ideas. A field of development for the app is to continue improving the dialogue between managers and employees. “We hope to go even further in constructing a collective history: employees make contributions on a daily basis and in return, the management can explain the decisions they have made after having consulted these”, outlines the co-founder. This is an opportunity that could really help businesses to see digital transformation as a vehicle for creativity and collective involvement.