digital still leads in Brittany, especially around Rennes and Saint-Malo

The Las Vegas CES it is the great annual mass of technologies and electronics. 200 French start-ups were present, including six from Brittany. The weight of digital in Brittany, and especially in Ille et Vilaine, where we talk about it with the director of the Pool, the association that oversees the French Tech Rennes/Saint-Malo.

What is a Pool?

So Pool, which you also know as French Tech Rennes/Saint-Malo, is an association that encourages the creation and development of start-ups.

And in terms of innovation and digital, there’s a lot to do in Ille-et-Vilaine…

We are a territory where historically there has been a lot of innovation. It started in the 1970s in telecoms with Minitel. All of that became the Internet, so we’ve also become very digitally powerful. So there are many digital companies that you know like Klaxoon. We have also become very strong in digital disciplines such as cybersecurity. Rennes is really one of France’s strongholds, the second stronghold after Paris, but also e-health. And then there are also other areas of innovation that are developing, such as the carbon-free industry.

And so you help these startups, these companies, to build, to find money?

Yes exactly, that’s all. In fact, we help them in two ways. In a very direct way, we offer courses for entrepreneurs. So you start a start-up project tomorrow with an innovation, you knock on the door of the cluster and we will be the front door. We will guide the entrepreneur in his journey by giving him advice and also by putting him in touch with all the actors in the territory that are useful in building mini start-ups and beyond why these actors are brought together in association. . Poool has 500 members, 250 startups we support, as well as all players in the innovation chain, investment funds, service companies, other university support structures. So part of our job is to support them directly with advice and another is to do a lot of networking and create a link between all these players.

What is the picture today of a person with digital ideas in Brittany?

It’s quite different. There are companies built by students present at CES. There are companies founded by executives with fifteen or 20 years of experience, people with ideas in a garage, researchers coming out of a laboratory in Rennes. There are still quite a few companies that come out of research laboratories or universities. But what you have to remember is that it varies a lot.

How is the sector currently post-Covid and full of inflation?

This is a real question. What we see here at the moment is that things are not so bad. Although this is fine for most start-ups that are launched and continue to grow well. And we see this in the job market, which is still very tense when it comes to recruiting engineers, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity profiles.

There are many vacancies…

There is a strong recruiting activity. You can find the offers on our website
. The companies here are well supported by their ecosystem, by the State and particularly in Rennes. We are also in areas that continue to work. We are talking about digital or cybersecurity, emerging areas.

What’s the point of attending CES in Las Vegas?

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, was the big mass, let’s say, at the beginning of the consumer electronics revolution. But it has become just technology. There were 100,000 people, everybody was there. So the first entry key for startups is when they seek to make themselves visible, to be shown. This is a show where we will talk about connected things, technologies, but also finally all the applications, of the connected car, connected health and the connected home. So quite big.

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