Created in 2017 in Rennes, the start-up PureControl multiplied its annual turnover by ten in recent years. Its software solution capable of controlling industrial installations through artificial intelligence improves the energy consumption performance of automated systems and reduces their greenhouse gas emissions. It meets a need in the industrial market, both economically, with the increase in energy costs, and environmentally. There are already 200 customers, including the three French leaders in water treatment, the Veolia, Saur and Suez groups, SMEs and local authorities. The company must triple its workforce in thirty employees until the end of the year.
Maneuvering behind the pilot of this hypergrowth, a complementary set of co-founders: April Gautierdoctor in telecommunications, technical director of PureControl, and Geoffroy Maillard, career salesperson, responsible for the development of the start-up. The two businessmen met at their former employer, a Breton telecommunications operator. “It was Gautier who came up with the idea for the start-up. To avoid blocking situations, we decided on a share distribution of 51% for him and 49% for me. Our “duo” with different profiles is, in my opinion, the source of our success”, says Geoffroy Maillard.
Customers first, solution second
Another success factor of the solution is the adoption of a “Go to market” strategy. PureControl confronts potential customers right from the start without any technical solutions. “Our aim was to build the software according to your needs, building on the technology bricks, to achieve a universal standardized solution”, explains Geoffroy Maillard.
A way also to ensure an easy stair climb. The first customer to trust them was the Conterie swimming pool in Chartres-de-Bretagne. “We did our first tests there. So we managed to capitalize on our industrial perspectives in this first small contract, inflating the result a little”, he laughs. The economic model offered to customers, inspired by the “Netflix” offer, namely a monthly subscription without commitment, which can be canceled at any time free of charge, ends up convincing them.
Benefiting from an incubation course at Poool in the Brittany region, PureControl was accompanied by a dedicated project manager. “When you start from scratch, you need support with accounting or finance prerequisites,” emphasizes Geoffroy Maillard. Another figure of reference, that of his former boss, an ex-startupeur like them, and a good adviser. “Gautier and I left on good terms, thanks to a mutual agreement, which allowed us to receive unemployment for two years. A real comfort because we don’t pay ourselves a salary during this period of launching our business”, says Geoffroy Maillard.
Entry into the capital of an industrialist
The two founders started with 600 thousand euros of equity in personal contribution. “I had to sell a house I owned as a rental investment,” explains Geoffroy Maillard. A sum intended for the rapid formation of a team. “It was our choice to surround ourselves with contributors early on to accelerate customer acquisition,” he says.
In 2021, PureControl achieves its first 1.7 million euros raised. A business angel, Bpifrance, bank partners but above all a reference shareholder, the company OKwind, Breton manufacturer of solar trackers, with the aim of commercial synergy. “We dismissed two investment funds that wanted to impose governance restrictions on us, asking for veto rights when they were in the minority. We favor OKwind with the DNA of entrepreneurs like us and with whom we share the same market vision”, attests Geoffroy Maillard. PureControl is planning a new funding round at the beginning of the year.