Interview. Ready to become the leader of the Made in Lot interactive kiosk, Dominique Delpon is looking for an investor
Through Jean-Claude Bonnemere
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His project of interactive terminals started in his garage and grew up to nursery Cadurcia in the business park of Cahors South. Now, for Dominique Delpon and his company TouchAm, the time has come to fly, hence his search for investors.
“The diversity of skills acquired over time gives me strengths both technically and in terms of business management,” sums up Dominique Delpon, 36 years old.
Indeed, this design engineer has several strings to his bow. His training route began in Revel (31) at the furniture trades high school, with a CAP-BEP then a professional baccalaureate in carpentry. He went on to a BTS in production, a degree in project management and attended an engineering school in design, before graduating with a master’s degree in business management. This atypical career was accompanied by a solid professional experience that led him to work within an American production unit, as head of the product research and development division. He joined the company Trigano in the field of motorhomes, as director of the design office for interior fittings related to wood, electricity, electronics, electrical engineering and home automation. Another step in this course, his employment in a robotics company, as head of the “Methods and industrialization” design office. Added to this list is automation and IT! A set of melee skills just waiting to grow.
On the eve of the first imprisonment, Dominique Delpon created the company: “TouchAm” (whose name comes from the English Touch, touch and Am, a suffix mainly used in West Africa, meaning “do something with attention ” ).
News: What is the nature of the project you want to develop in Cahors, using TouchAm?
Dominique Delpon: Restaurateurs were among the first professionals to suffer, during the first imprisonment; at the same time, the President of the Republic insisted on the need to remake the industry, to regain technological freedom… This context reminded me of an idea that I had in mind since the end of the 2000s, because I saw the queues in front of McDonald’s in Paris and the arrival of order terminals. This convinced me that sooner or later we will go to the development of this type of interactive terminals and in most sectors of activity. However, in the first confinement of 2020, these popular terminals remained limited to the main fast food brands. At that time, I was conducting a market study with students from the University of Lille, where I was working.
What does this market study show?
DD: We have identified three types of poverty. In terms of accessibility, we realize that the main players who make terminals have not left the market of national fast food chains. However, these terminals remain inaccessible in terms of cost. Second aspect to reconsider: flexibility. Excluding national brands that have maintenance contracts and sometimes purchase production units, with regard to other markets, maintenance is not carried out under satisfactory conditions for customers. Third weak point at the moment: the lack of adaptability of these terminals to the needs of “classic catering”. From this observation, I developed my project based on the flexibility and personalization of these terminals, according to customer expectations and more in the catering sector.
“It all starts in my garage…”
How do you intend to develop your concept?
DD: What I offer are interactive kiosks made to measure with customer service that guarantees after sales service. At the same time, I have developed software capable of adapting these terminals to all professional environments, more than restaurateurs. Of course, the first step is to meet the expectations of restaurateurs. Now the concept can be rejected according to the specific needs of each client.
What is the interest for a merchant to equip himself with an interactive kiosk?
DD: At busy times, the terminal avoids queues, it immediately informs the customer by allowing him to order as needed. Restaurateurs quickly saw the interest of such equipment, especially as long as it was possible to personalize it.
About the cost of these terminals you consider too expensive, how?
DD: In fact the cost represents a major obstacle to their development. For me, I started over. In my garage, I first developed the hardware (computer device) that ensured our terminals were simple to manufacture, simple to assemble and simple to maintain. Then there is the testing phase. I determined that the incidence of repairability of these terminals is five out of five; that is, a faulty element can be replaced, without endangering the rest of the device. Another aspect is close to my heart: reducing the impact on the environment as much as possible by seeking to move towards a neutral carbon footprint. So, I use wood, my first specialty which can be found in all our terminals. It offers a certain aesthetic and good mechanical hardness. Wood contributes to balancing the carbon balance, by participating in the storage of CO2. All this took me two years! The terminals are now operational and some of them have already been installed in restaurants in Toulouse and Cahors. In the long term, it is a question of investment in the regional and national market. This is the stage we are entering, with three propositions.
What are these three types of terminals?
DD: We offer one type of terminal for catering establishments, another for the digital concierge (it allows, for example, a campsite to reserve and pay for groceries, on-site and outdoor activities it can collect opinions, display a calendar of local events, etc.). The third configuration of our terminals is related to ticketing and its launch is scheduled for May 2023, for cinemas, museums, performance halls… We want to position ourselves as a leader in HMI (human-machine interface) created in Batch ; we do everything on the site!
What about terminals dedicated to company concierge services?
DD: For example, from a terminal installed near the coffee machine in a company, it will be possible to distribute information about an internal event, reserve a meeting room, order food within the specified perimeter to be delivered to employee in the company. We plan that these terminals can broadcast news flashes, promotions… A whole range of possibilities!
Have you developed synergy with other local companies?
DD: Absolutely. Together with Soben (manufacturer of autonomous robots on wheels), we signed a partnership to set up robots that will deliver orders placed from terminals. We develop tactile menus for CAP 180 Restaurants to help them deal with the recruitment crisis in the catering industry. We will install and test the business terminals in the Cadurcia incubator by connecting it to the company Event Sport Indoor L’Arène, also located in the industrial zone of Cahors Sud, which will receive orders, process them and deliver these.
Your next step?
DD: Today, we are located in the area of the Cadurcia business incubator, in the southern Cahors business park. We must both pursue our progress and accelerate growth. The company has reached a stage where it is no longer possible to do everything alone. CCI has supported me well so far; it allowed me to reach this level. However, now, “TouchAm” needs funding to move to a new phase that will establish its sustainability. I should continue in the field of research and intensify the commercial approach. So far, I have put my savings into running the business, but there is a risk that I will be in trouble due to lack of money. A co-investor is welcome!
A terminal at Cahors Cathedral?
“The problem was presented to me by the bishop of Cahors and the representatives of the Conference of Bishops of France, for the design of this terminal. It is to offer the faithful to give donations à la carte. For now , more and more people without change in their pockets, suddenly, thanks to this terminal, it is possible to choose the amount of their donation and pay it immediately with their credit card, together with the tax receipt if necessary. »
Contact: 06 35 46 04 67 [email protected]
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