the Grand Est, a real cocoon for start-ups

Matis Ringdal from Strasbourg leads Pixacare, a start-up that three years ago created software for decision support in skin pathologies. Fifteen hospitals, including the University Hospitals of Lille, Brest and Liège, have adopted it and Pixacare has just raised funds of €2 million “to improve the algorithm and continue development. Marc Berthold, also from Strasbourg, launched his Gaming Privé platform for the sale of esports, gaming and pop culture items from his parents’ garage with a capital of €1,000. Today, it has 11 employees, has a turnover of 1.2 million euros and is looking to expand by 3.5 million euros. Older than the first two, Laurent Villemin of Woippy is co-founder of Replace Plastics, which offers alternative solutions to plastic ignored by traditional recycling circuits. It now has its first production unit on the Marne and produces, in particular, vine cuttings!

Your common ground? The three are part of the Quest for change network of incubators, benefited from financial support from the Grand Est region and recognize that this was decisive. “During national meetings, when we talk about how we are incubating at the Grand Est, everyone wants to come to us”, summarizes Laurent Villemin.

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Quest for Change is the network of five incubators at Grand Est, those incubators that support start-ups early in their lives. It was built on the model of the Alsatian Semia, to which four other incubators were added: The Pool in Metz, Quai Alpha in Épinal, Innovact in Reims and Rimbaud’Tech in Charleville-Mézières. This allows its team of 40 experts to provide tailored assistance. Some figures summarize the weight gained by this network of 240 start-ups, 12 million euros in turnover, 1,100 founders and employees, including 700 jobs created. This makes it an important player in innovation in France.

Effects on employment

The Greater East Region understood that this is one of the development levers for the future of the territory. It supports start-ups incubated in labeled archive structures. Including those from Quest for change. “The creation of a start-up is no longer an incongruity and has direct effects on employment, GDP and the economic fabric. The sustainability rate is 85% in five years. The Region has committed more than 27 million euros over four years to help create, strengthen Research and Development and accelerate regional start-ups”, says François Grosdidier, Vice President of the Grand Est region, delegate for higher education, research and innovation .

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the fundraising race

For all these start-ups, the fundraising race is essential. On the net, it reaches 102 million euros. “At the end of 2021, 61 start-ups had already carried out one or more operations that allowed them to collectively value them up to 250 million euros”, describes Stéphane Chauffriat, managing director of Guest for Change. A value increased to more than two thirds by healthcare startups, which makes Quest for change the leading incubator in France in the field (60 projects). The industry follows soon after, with 40 start-ups supported: “It will take more than 407 million euros over five years to finance its production tool”, warns Stéphane Chauffriat. Another decisive step.

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