SERIES. Toulouse Residents of the Year: Alexandre Tisserant, the rising star of French space

the essential
At the head of the space start-up Kinéis, this adopted Toulouse is preparing to launch a constellation of 25 satellites. They will allow to continue monitoring wild animals in the continuation of the ARGOS system and to connect millions of objects to the Internet. Alexandre Tisserant has big ambitions for the Toulouse ecosystem.

He is one of the 40 French Tech champions and contributes to Toulouse’s influence. Alexandre Tisserant is at the head of Kinéis, a start-up in the space industry based in Cidade Rosa and created in 2018 by the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) and the company CLS. The latter became famous for the ARGOS lighthouses it operates to track mariners and wildlife in the oceans. This boss who took the reins, in 2019, of this NewSpace nugget, of these young companies in space, is part of the new generation of entrepreneurs who combine the will to create and respect for values. He likes to describe his work by explaining to his three children, “I launch satellites into space to track and protect wild animals.”

100 million euros raised

It is, in fact, one of the missions in the constellation of 25 nanosatellites of satellites weighing thirty kilos that Kineis wants to launch in the second quarter of 2023. At the rate of five launch campaigns, they will be fired from the New Zealand platform of Rocket Lab, an American launcher, that will put its small satellites into orbit. Once in space, these satellites will continue the missions of the Argos beacons used to track wild animals, but also to monitor fishing areas.

The second mission of this flotilla of microsatellites will also be to connect millions of additional objects to the Internet in areas as varied as agriculture, logistics, transport and energy. Contracts have already been concluded with Bouygues Telecom, Suez, etc. To get there, Alexandre Tisserant and his teams have been working hard in recent years. Formed by Polytechnique and Télécom Paris, he played the role of conductor to make Kinéis the emblem of the tricolor sector of nanosatellites. This ability to get everyone to play in unison perhaps comes from his talents as a musician, as he plays jazz as an amateur in Toulouse. He managed to gather around Kinéis the French space agency (Cnes) and industrialists such as Thales Alenia Space, leader of the sector and another satellite manufacturer from Toulouse: Hémeria, not to mention the American Rocket Lab.

Born in Nancy, this Lorrain who grew up in the Alps close to Annecy now uses the know-how and skills accumulated throughout his career (see box) to the success of this beautiful space project in Toulouse. But like any space rocket, a company needs fuel to reach its goals. And even though the ticket to space has dropped dramatically in recent years thanks to NewSpace players, building and launching a constellation of satellites is expensive. In 2020, Alexandre Tisserant thus completes a record fundraising in the Toulouse ecosystem with the trifle of 100 million euros won by Cnes, CLS, BPI France, Ifremer…

“The countdown has begun”

That year, Kinéis grew by 40% and reached the 7 million euro mark in turnover. Today, after four years of work, the goal is fast approaching. Now with Rocket Lab’s shot in sight, “The countdown has begun!” exclaims the man from Toulouse. Once in orbit, thanks to five successive launches, these nanosatellites with a useful life of eight years will allow Kinéis to deploy its object connectivity services in record time.

A marketing that will happen a lot for export in Canada, Brazil and Singapore but mainly in the United States where Kinéis has just opened a new branch. Alexandre Tisserand also accompanied Emmanuel Macron during his state visit to Washington last December to meet NASA. Tomorrow some of the world’s objects will be able to connect to the internet thanks to a connection made in Toulouse!

on some dates

2002: Formed by Ecole polytechnique
2004: Formed by Telecom Paris
2004: Joined the Prime Minister’s office in Matignon to launch the portal
2009: Becomes COO of a start-up in Silicon Valley in San Francisco
2014: Chief of Staff of the Deputy Mayor of Finance of the City of Paris
2015: Deputy Chief of Staff to Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of State for Digital
2017: Joined CLS in Toulouse as director of strategic projects
2019: Becomes Managing Director of Kinéis, a subsidiary of Cnes and CLS
2020: Raises 100 M€ needed to finance the launch of the 25 satellite constellation and becomes president.

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