And not only. Founded last month by Tom Brunel, still a student at the IUT de Saint-Etienne, the start-up focuses on the manufacture and design of eco-responsible travel gear. It is in the process of finalizing the prototype of an all-terrain connected trailer. Raidlay has just joined Use’In, the Jean-Monnet University incubator run by Telecom.
Entrepreneurship definitely does not wait for the end of studies. And on this subject, Tom Brunel, in his 20s that is not betrayed by a voice with a timbre as mature as the state of mind conveyed, turns out to be even earlier than Enzo Soulier, founder of Grail Spotter, of whom we were talking to you at the end of April. A graduate in mechanical and production engineering from the DUT at the IUT de Saint-Etienne, he will still be a student at the start of the 2022 academic year. for his business.
Especially since he will be training on the job with the supplier of industrial solutions for the manufacture of bicycle wheels, Mach 1, in Marcplot, near Montrond-les-Bains. Tom Brunel, he is from Villars and is a huge cycling and DIY enthusiast. “It is one of the sports I practice the most. From childhood, mountain biking or road with family, friends. At the same time, yes since high school I have been involved in a lot of DIY projects: with wood – for example, I tried to build a pedal boat – then other materials, even 3D printing now. I’ve gotten into the habit of fixing and replacing everything that’s broken in the house. »
The idea came from a bike trip after high school.
Still with his parents, Tom Brunel must still give them the benefit of his faculties for a while, even if the desire to make it his work is already on the table. Why, “I have long wanted to have my own business to combine my passions. I had the ideas, but I didn’t know how to do it, it’s not my training. Of course, I have to keep learning: this happens thanks to the supervision of the incubator. And I’m going to see an accountant for the first time next week. Let’s determine together a more professional business plan than the one I designed. But before that, I was at the FabLab in Saint-Etienne, which told me that a structure like Use’In could help me get started. »
It’s been done for a month: start-up Raidlay has joined the Jean-Monnet University incubator, piloted by Télécom Saint-Etienne, located on the premises of La Base du Bâtiment des Forges, Cité du design on the east side. Studying and opening a business at the same time, doesn’t that put a lot of pressure? “On the contrary, it gives me time to make mistakes. So of course there are sacrifices. I don’t do a lot of student parties on Thursdays because I often work nights on my projects. At IUT, I try to be very, very focused in class to optimize my homework time. » Raidlay (in reference to the Vendée Lay River) is focused on the manufacture and design of eco-responsible travel equipment. The idea came from a Sainté/Mediterranean bike trip the summer after graduation.
Raidlay will finalize its prototype trailer in late June
By making his own trailer with recycled materials, the young man realizes that there is still a lot to develop in this area. “On the web and on the phone in particular with a trailer attached to an electric bike or even in the fact that it is really off-road. What exists on the market is still not satisfactory. I’m finalizing a prototype that will have these qualities. I will present my project during the La Fouillouse Run and Bike on June 4th and also at the Bois noirs Oxygène VTT event on June 26th in Chalmazel. » Initially, Tom Brunel himself will manufacture the machines. So, if things develop, it will probably be necessary to go through the subcontracting box, but the student-entrepreneur intends to have his workshops for the long term.
Meanwhile, we need customers first. Those targeted? Existing specialized sellers such as Probikeshop, Culture Vélo, Thollot, etc. But Tom Brunel already has his website, designed to sell his products directly. One of them is already on the market: bicycle fenders made of…. plastic covers for used school notebooks. At 4 or 5 €, depending on the thickness, the unit, 36 have already been sold, signing a collaboration with the company Papeteries Pichon, based in Veauche.
FabLab laser cut fenders
A non-commercial exchange between the start-up and the national leader in the distribution of school supplies to schools: Tom Brunel finds his raw material there, which his partner delivers to him after taking it from his customers during his deliveries. Pichon finds an additional environmental point of sale here.
“As for the colors, they are varied but, inevitably, the stocks vary according to what arrives there. To give the shapes, I rent laser cutting machine time from FabLab in Saint-Etienne. » Tom Brunel, who is not yet raising funds and is about to apply for public aid or initiative networks, has a turnover of 30 thousand euros for his first year. Aims at profitability from September 2023.