these researchers who founded their start-up, The community

The battalion continues to grow. In the past five years, more and more researchers have ventured to found a start-up in deeptech and obtained an increase in funding. Four of them agreed to tell us about their successful passage from the laboratory to the boss’s suit. Picture these outrageous.

Zuzanna Stamirowska: Pathway’s boss wants to optimize logistics

It is to believe that the universe of start-ups was made for him. “I really like the uncertainty and learning new things,” said Zuzanna Stamirowskathe leader of Road, a deeptech that uses machine learning in real time to optimize logistics flows. This native of Poland is served on a plate: he founded his company in Paris with Claire Nouet – one of his former students – on the eve of the first imprisonment of 2020…

Passionate about economics and mathematics, Zuzanna Stamirowska immersed herself during her thesis in data on the daily movements of the world maritime fleet between 1977 and 2008. She discovered that predictive models for logisticians can significantly improve.

Creating a Pathway is the next step. A matter of impact. “Papers in scientific journals are important, but they are underutilized,” he said. The boss works with La Poste and DB Schenker and just raised 4.2 million euros in seed. Big value in deeptech.

“Taken understand how the VC world works [capital-risque, NDLR] “, He slipped. But, as often, the girl found a solution. “When people are ambitious, they always look for ways. »

Maximilien Levesque, inventor of future drugs with Aqemia

The path seemed clear: a brilliant student, Maximilien Levesque did a thesis on quantum physics at the CEA in Saclay, a post-doctorate at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, then got a teaching-researcher position in ENS. . “I thought I would be doing research all my life,” he said with a laugh.

Maximilien Levesque is the co-founder of Aqemia.

In 2019, the scientist left everything to find Aqemia: a deeptech that uses cutting-edge theoretical physics and AI algorithms to facilitate the discovery of new drugs.

The click came when a large laboratory knocked on his door and made him realize that his work had immense potential in pharmaceuticals, a sector alien to his field of research. Without regret, he left ENS and joined Emmanuelle Martiano Rollanda BCG alumnus.

Then everything happened very quickly. Aqemia currently carries out a dozen anti-cancer research projects and works in parallel with groups such as Janssen, Servier and Sanofi. In 2022, this deeptech with global ambitions completed Aqemia mobilizing 30 million euros to become pharma 3.0 with Eurazeo and Bpifrance.

“We have 50 people on permanent contracts. It’s my pride”, commented the founder. It’s not over yet as 100 additional hires are planned this year. Maximilien Levesque loves his new job. “I’m learning, I’m learning, I’m learning,” he insisted. He still works like when he was a researcher, but at a different pace. “When you’re the boss, your time unit is 30 minutes “.

Ane Aanesland, head for the stars with ThrustMe

Fifteen years devoted to research, and then the big step. In 2017, Ane Aanesland established push me : a start-up that has developed revolutionary engines for nanosatellites. The physicist by training is not alone, as his Ukrainian co-founder, Dmytro Rafalskyi, is a former CNRS colleague. “At that time, creating a start-up was relatively new for researchers, especially in space,” he recalls.

Ane Aanesland has always ignored borders. Born in Norway, the owner of ThrustMe was educated in Tromso, north of the Arctic Circle, then in Canberra, Australia. But in France he spent his entire professional career.

Over time, the lack of research resources began to fail him, and the virus of entrepreneurship won him over. “The multitasking side of the job is more important,” he points out. The boss also appreciates the great diversity of his interlocutors (investors, lawyers, employees, etc.).

Deeptech, which has raised less than 5 million euros in equity since it was founded, reached an important milestone in September by opening its first production line. It sells its products in Asia, the United States and Europe. The year 2023 promises to be busy, as ThrustMe plans to double the size of its workforce. In his eyes, this is one of the other advantages of start-ups: “We can do things faster! »

Théau Peronnin (Alice & Bob), the quantum pioneer

When we talk to him about Theau Peronnin, Xavier Lazarus, the manager of the Elaia investment fund, is complimentary. “He acts like a businessman and thinks like a businessman,” he said. It should come as no surprise, then, that this quantum physics researcher founded the start-up Alice & Bob before he even finished his thesis! “I put the cart before the horse”, smiled the interested party, who felt a little cramped in the very strict framework of the research.

Théau Peronnin joined forces with Raphael Lescanne, a researcher he met during his studies. “We’re at a point in our career where it costs nothing to try,” he commented. The boss chose the name Alice & Bob because they are two classic figures in cryptology. He is looking for an error-free qubit that would allow his company to build a universal quantum computer.

Théau Peronnin (on the right in the picture) is the boss of Alice & Bob.

In 2022, the young shoot raised 27 million euros, a record for a French quantum start-up. Théau Peronnin was convinced that this technology would change entire sectors of the economy. It needs to act quickly, as international competition is fierce in the field and requires significant financial resources. But the young man is optimistic: “this is one of the rare technological races that you can win”.

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