École Polytechnique launches its accelerator
"X-Up" is the name of École Polytechnique accelerator launched in April 2015. This program aims to help start-up projects lay the foundations of their future development. Each start-up in the accelerator will be followed and supported for a period of six months, renewable once, to help its project to grow. This program is for projects or start-ups which have just been created or are about to be and which are in the early stages of their development. "By the end of the program, entrepreneurs should have started their business and be in a good position to raise funds to accelerate the growth of their start-up," says Matthieu Somekh, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at École Polytechnique.
There are three main aspects to the support offered through the accelerator: coaching, mentoring and interactions with other teams. Entrepreneurs benefit from the coaching provided by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation team from École Polytechnique. The startuppers are also supported daily by an entrepreneur-in-residence, who is at the accelerator on a full time basis. Moreover, they receive a personalized support through mentoring by experts from École Polytechnique networks, who are selected on a case by case basis for their experience and expertise. "Every start-up is accompanied by three mentors: one for business, one for lean startup development and one for technology," explains Matthieu Somekh. Finally, teams can exchange advice and help on everyday problems they encounter in the space of the accelerator.
In addition to providing a location at the heart of École Polytechnique entrepreneurial ecosystem, the accelerator gives the startuppers access to a prototyping space headed by a fab-manager, as well as workshops and meetings on key topics relevant for them. Here are examples of issues which are addressed: the business model, the art of pitching, intellectual property, financing, preparation for fundraising or digital communication. The startuppers also have the opportunity to attend "CEO Talks" with business leaders and interactive meetings "Experts speeches" with professionals specialized in technology or other topics of interest.
So how can one join École Polytechnique accelerator? The conditions are simple: "Everyone can apply", insists Matthieu Somekh, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at l'X. Far from being reserved only to École Polytechnique young entrepreneurs and in the spirit of mixing ideas and expertise, this accelerator is meant as a place of exchange, open to the ecosystem of the Saclay plateau, Paris region and beyond. "We favor projects with a strong component of technological innovation applied to various fields such as health, big data or networked objects," says Matthieu Somekh.
Since April, the accelerator hosts its first class with four start-up projects. The second class is being recruited to begin on October 1st, 2015. The projects are selected by an independent Selection Committee made up of entrepreneurs, industrial experts and investors. Currently housed in the building of the incubator "X-Technologies" located on École Polytechnique campus, the accelerator will move in July. "X-Up" will join École Polytechnique Entrepreneurship building, currently under construction.
> Practical informations
Apply to be part of the second class of startuppers starting October 1st, 2015: