Auxivia, a start-up accelerated at l'X
Auxivia is one of the four start-ups hosted at École Polytechnique accelerator, X-Up, which was launched in April. This start-up aims at marketing its first product, a connected glass for the seniors, next year.
Every Monday morning, it is the same routine at "X-Up", École Polytechnique accelerator. Breakfast begins with a "crash test": everyone brainstorms on one of the issues of the incubated companies. It is during one of these meetings that Antoine Dupont and Vincent Philippe found the name of their start-up: "Auxivia". Since last April, the two entrepreneurs joined the accelerator now hosted within the Innovation Center La Fibre Entrepreneur - Drahi X-Novation Center. The two engineers, who met during their Entrepreneurship Master's at ESCP, shared a common goal: start a hardware project with an industrial aspect.
A few months ago, Antoine and Vincent decided to target more precisely the medical field. "The problems related to senior care interested us, and after interviewing many health professionals, it appeared that the main factors driving seniors in nursing homes are related to malnutrition and dehydration problems." Once they understood that problem, the entrepreneurs started thinking about their start-up.
"Auxivia develops connected objects to accompany the elderly and their caregivers on a day-to-day basis," says Antoine Dupont, co-founder and CEO of the start-up. The first product developed by the company is a connected glass that helps prevent dehydration. The two founders aim at targeting private healthcare groups oriented "upscale".
Ultimately, they hope to improve housing equipment to allow seniors to stay home. "Insurance companies are in favor of better housing equipment for their customers," says Antoine Dupont.
Mentors and personalized coaching
During the last four months, the two entrepreneurs have enjoyed all the advantages offered by École Polytechnique accelerator. For example, they have had a chance to talk with the founders of famous start-ups such as seloger.com or Weezevent, the company whose growth has been the fastest over the last five years in France. "These models inspire us," say Auxivia's founders. Another plus is to be able to work with the entrepreneur in residence. Every week, the young start-uppers also have access to training courses: for example, Antoine and Vincent were very interested by the workshop on the marketing of medical devices.
Above all, each accelerated project is supported by a technical mentor, a business mentor and a mentor specialized in the "lean startup development". The two entrepreneurs are particularly helped by Hugo Mercier, founder of Dreem, a startup developing a connected headband to improve sleep, which was launched at École Polytechnique. "Hugo is a year and a half ahead of us with respect to industrial and financial issues, his support is very valuable," says Anthony. The startuppers also received good advice from David Zhang, one of the co-founders of Prynt, a start-up from l'X that became famous worldwide with its record fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. "The network offered by the accelerator is essential and has enabled us to recruit two excellent profiles," says Anthony.
Another highlight: the time saved on the technical and financial part of the project. "Overall, we won six to seven months thanks to the accelerator," says Anthony, who believes that this structure allows to go "twice as fast". The fab-lab supervised by a fab-manager is available 24/7: Vincent spends more than a day every week in this prototyping space. "We can design a prototype within a week if we want," says Antoine, before adding that it would be both very expensive and binding to resort to an external fab-lab. In terms of funding, the two entrepreneurs have also been able to develop contacts with Scientipôle and Bpifrance.
The environment surrounding École Polytechnique accelerator is also very much appreciated by Auxivia's founders. "Being at the heart of this institution allows us to benefit from a very thorough support, embedded within l'X culture of excellence," says Antoine Dupont for whom the ecosystem of the Saclay plateau provides a very dynamic work environment. Next step: test phases will be carried out until the beginning of 2016, after which the two entrepreneurs hope to fundraise 500,000 euros. This funding would allow them to move to industrialization phases and start marketing their product.
> More information
To apply to the second class of start-uppers (beginning on October 1st, 2015), contact the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Team.
Contacts: Matthieu Somekh, Maxime Giraux and Elodie Iturria
A smart glass
The connected glass created by Auxivia keeps track of the hydration status of nursing home patients thanks to a personalized alert system. "A light system alerts the medical staff and these alerts are adjustable according to the patient's pathology and external factors such as heat waves," explains Antoine Dupont, co-founder of the start-up. This connected object can also be used to detect behavioral disorders such as patients who refuse to drink. "An accelerometer measures the rate at which water flows from the glass and if the fluid is not drunk but poured into a sink, for example, the object detects it," says the CEO.
Another advantage: all data is collected and can be viewed by the caregiver via a platform. The healthcare groups may thus produce performance indicators and manage their hydration policy within their institutions.