those researchers who founded their start-up, The community

The battalion continues to grow. Over the past five years, more and more researchers have dared to found a deeptech start-up and have gotten more and more funding. Four of them agreed to tell us about their successful transition from the lab to the boss’s process. Portrait of those audacious.

Zuzanna Stamirowska: Pathway boss wants to optimize logistics

It is to be believed that the universe of start-ups was made for her. “I really like uncertainty and learning new things,” he says. Zuzanna Stamirowskathe leader of Path, a deeptech that uses real-time machine learning to optimize logistics flows. This native of Poland was served as a dish: she founded her company in Paris with Claire Nouet – one of her former students – on the eve of the first confinement in 2020…

Passionate about economics and mathematics, Zuzanna Stamirowska immersed herself during her thesis in data on the daily movements of the world’s maritime fleet between 1977 and 2008. She found that predictive models for logisticians could be significantly improved.

The creation of Pathway was the next step. A matter of impact. “Articles in scientific journals are valuable, but they are little used”, he points out. The boss works with La Poste and DB Schenker and has just raised 4.2 million euros in seed. A significant amount in deeptech.

“It took understand how the world of VC works [capital-risque, NDLR] ,” she slips. But, as always, the young woman found the solution. “When people are ambitious, they always find ways. »

Maximilien Levesque, inventor of the drugs of the future with Aqemia

The path seemed clear: a brilliant student, Maximilien Levesque did a thesis in quantum physics at the CEA de Saclay, post-doctorate at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, then got a position as research professor at ENS. . “I thought I was going to do research all my life,” he laughs.

Maximilien Levesque is the co-founder of Aqemia.

In 2019, the scientist dropped everything to found 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 the pharmaceutical area, a sector alien to his research area. With no regrets, he left ENS and joined Emmanuelle Martiano Rollanda BCG alumnus.

So everything went really fast. Currently, Aqemia develops a dozen research projects against cancer and works in parallel with groups such as Janssen, Servier and Sanofi. In 2022, this deeptech with global ambitions completed Aqemia mobilizes 30 million euros to become pharma 3.0 with Eurazeo and Bpifrance.

“We have 50 people with permanent contracts. It is my pride”, comments the founder. It’s not over yet, as 100 additional hires are planned for this year. Maximilien Levesque loves his new job. “Learn, learn, learn,” he insists. He still works as much as he did when he was a researcher, but at a different pace. “When you are the boss, your unit of time is 30 minutes “.

Ane Aanesland, Heading for the Stars with ThrustMe

Fifteen years devoted to research, and then the big leap. In 2017, Anne Aanesland founded Trust in me : a start-up that developed revolutionary engines for nanosatellites. Physics by training did not go away on its own, as its Ukrainian co-founder Dmytro Rafalskyi is a former colleague of the CNRS. “At the time, creating a startup was something 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 it was in France that she spent her entire professional career.

Over time, the lack of research resources began to frustrate her, and the entrepreneurship virus conquered her. “The multitasking side of the job is much more important,” she points out. The boss also values ​​the great diversity of her interlocutors (investors, lawyers, employees, etc.).

Deeptech, which has raised less than €5 million in capital since its founding, reached a major milestone in September when it opened its first production line. It sells its products in Asia, the United States and Europe. 2023 promises to be a busy year as ThrustMe plans to double the size of its workforce. For him, this is one of the other advantages of startups: “We can do things faster! »

Théau Peronnin (Alice & Bob), the quantum pioneer

When we talked to him about Theau Peronnin, Xavier Lázaro, manager of the investment fund Elaia, is complimentary. “He behaves like an entrepreneur and thinks like an entrepreneur,” he says. 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”, smiles the interested person, who felt a little squeezed in the very rigid framework of the research.

Théau Peronnin joined forces with Raphael Lescanne, a researcher he met during his studies. “We were at a point in our careers where it didn’t cost anything to try”, he says. The boss chose the name Alice & Bob because they are two classic cryptology figures. He is looking for the error-free qubit that will allow his company to build a universal quantum computer.

Théau Peronnin (on the right in the photo) is the head of Alice & Bob.

In 2022, the young footage raised 27 million euros, a record for a French quantum start-up. Théau Peronnin is convinced that this technology will revolutionize entire sectors of the economy. He has to act quickly, because international competition is fierce in the field and requires significant financial resources. But the young man is optimistic: “it is one of the rare technological races that can be won”.

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