A descendant of the Larousse family, Guy makes words stand out by creating a special keyboard near Caen

The four founders of PIAmot. ©PIAmot

For 70 yearsGuy Hollier-Larousse realizes an idea that has been maturing in his head for about twenty years. “If my wife hadn’t given permission, I wouldn’t have done it,” he smiles. He asked her one night in 2019.

a life project

It is ” life project as he calls it, crowns his professional career. Accompanied by three other co-founders (Hervé Lagrue, Oumaima Assou and Damien Le Lann), Guy Hollier-Larousse launched your startup Louvigny in early 2023. With its flagship product: the PIAmot. This is a computer keyboard which, unlike the classic keyboard, allows typing syllable by syllable and no longer letter by letter. “This more intuitive system enables an input speed close to that of speech.” The alphabet is repeated twice on the keyboard: for the left hand and for the right hand, “for more ergonomics”. To type hello, for example, you can press the letters BOM on one side and DIA on the other at the same time, and the entire word appears.

To write at the speed of speech, it’s estimated that you need to type 200 words per minute, or 20 characters per second.

Guy Hollier Larousse

You might also know how to handle letters and the keyboard.

The letters of the alphabet are repeated twice for better ergonomics.
The letters of the alphabet are repeated twice for better ergonomics. ©PIAmot

Descendant of men of words

Letters and words, Guy Hollier-Larousse knows them well. It’s family, we can say without fooling ourselves. descendant of Pierre Laroussecreator of the Great Universal Dictionary of the 19th century, from which it will be removed later The Little Larousseguy is too the grandson of Jules Hollier-Larousseone of the founders of the newspaper freedom of normandy. So is there a real link between your start-up and your family background?

Maybe indirectly because it’s in the family culture.

Guy Hollier Larousse

“What really founded my desire to launch this keyboard is my professional background”, he adds. Engineer, formed by ENSI Caen, Guy Hollier-Larousse also holds a master’s degree in electrical and electromechanical engineering. “I went through the IAE and the business school in Caen. This thirst for learning and doing still hasn’t left him. “I’m like a sponge.”

In the second part of his career, Guy was an expert consultant in business creation and development. In this context, he was involved in the creation of the first bicycle company in France : Caen-based Risp system. The company offers services of live subtitling. “Ten years later, in 2006, I was director of development to build a new team in the company”, he adds. “What made it difficult was hiring cyclists because learning is long and complex. »

Train “piamistas”

Whether Risp System or Voxa Direct (based in Hérouville), these two companies use the Velotype keyboard, whose patent, of Dutch origin, dates from 1938. Guy Hollier-Larousse will use his creation PIAmot. A keyboard inspired by the Vélotype but enriched with new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

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In January 2020, the former engineer uses his network at ENSI Caen. “We had to prototype the keyboard and my knowledge goes back 40 years…”. It was Oumaima Assou, then a second year student at ENSI, who made the prototype during a few months’ internship with Guy. She is now the company’s director of development at just 24 years old.

PIAmot is divided into three sections: production and keyboard marketing, The keyboard training and the subtitling service. For now, the team is focused on the training component.

You really have to do the piano analogy. In the beginning, we played Au clair de la lune, we didn’t do a concert right away.

Guy Hollier Larousse

The company offers keyboard training in the form of seminars, for individuals or companies. “We also have self-learning software so you can practice your scales. Five “piamists” are currently in training. Eventually, the company would like to train hundreds of them to offer live caption.

Oumaima Assou is the director of development at PIAmot at just 24 years old.
Oumaima Assou is the director of development at PIAmot at just 24 years old. ©PIAmot

“A real help”

“We are entering an existing market, but there are many things to do”, explains Guy Hollier-Larousse. “This keyboard is a real help for the deaf and hard of hearing. Imagine a class in an amphitheater. A piamist could transcribe live on a large screen what the teacher says. » extra time savings : at the end, the course is already typed.

The PIAmot keyboard is already marketed to professionals, companies or freelancers. “Let’s launch collaborative funding in the second half of 2023 to pre-order keyboards, displays and tablet PCs to the general public,” says Guy Hollier-Larousse. “Apart from the components, everything is made in Normandy, like the printed circuit.” As the keyboard is not produced on a large scale, the starting price will be around €1000.

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