[LES ECHOS] The Up Grade incubator names its first five winners
The gas pedal's ambition is not to limit itself to digital companies. Up Grade is supporting OliKrom, founded by a CNRS researcher who has developed intelligent pigments that can change color.
From insects to cybersecurity via intelligent pigments. This is both the birth certificate of Up Grade and the presentation of a first class of five young companies with very different profiles. Created by the New Aquitaine region, this gas pedal, which takes the form of a support program, relies on the Unitec technology park and a team of three people. "Many players support the emergence phase of business projects. This is the "start" phase. The objective of the gas pedal is to support the "up" of these young companies with high potential, and to promote job creation in the New Aquitaine region," explains Alain Rousset, President of the New Aquitaine region.
Startup with high potential, already a turnover
The first five companies chosen have all been in existence for several years, are already generating sales and some have already raised funds. Dynvibe was created in 2009 by two French expatriates in Australia, Anne-Cécile and Nicolas Guillemot, in the "social listening" niche. "The idea is to listen on behalf of brands to what Internet users are saying on social networks," summarizes Anne-Cécile Guillemot.
Founded in 2015, Eshard was created by two former employees of Underwriter Laboratory, a very large American company that certifies digital products. Eshard specializes in cybersecurity and in particular flaws related to connected objects with a dozen patents filed.
As for Rhinov, it sells to individuals an interior design simulation service based on plans or photos. The company already manages 1,300 projects per month at a cost of 99 euros per room. "The business model we are moving towards is the prescription of decoration solutions including objects that will obviously be accessible on the site," summarizes Bastien Paquereau, one of the two co-founders.
Up Grade, a broader sectoral scope
The gas pedal's ambition is not to limit itself to digital companies. Up Grade supports OliKrom, founded by a CNRS researcher who has developed intelligent pigments that can change color. Or Entomo Farm, which cultivates insects for human and especially animal consumption.
So many very different companies. Some, like Entomo Farm or OliKrom, already have an industrial site. The first one already produces 4 tons of insects per week in Libourne. The second has just acquired a 2,000 m2 industrial building. None of the supported companies will move and all of them will stay in their premises.
However, they have common concerns. Already employing between ten and forty people each, they have to manage growth. "They will all have to double in size this year and that is always very complicated. We are here to help them structure themselves with the support of the Unitec network and the 400 companies already supported," explains Perrine Laquèche, director of Up Grade. "The interest for us is to have an environment likely to help us to pass from the stage of SME to that of a potential ETI", explains Grégory Louis founder of Entomo Farm.
They all have to go international quickly and know how to raise funds. An often delicate subject. "It is necessary that these entrepreneurs raise funds while knowing how to keep the power. The objective is to keep jobs locally," insists Laurent Pierre Gilliard, Director of Prospective and Communication at Unitec.