François Hollande meets École Polytechnique entrepreneurs
The President of France came to see students and startuppers at École Polytechnique on 17 September 2015 on the occasion of his visit on the Saclay Plateau.
Raodath Amidou, founder of Optimiam, presenting her son project to François Hollande
"Meeting the President of France is a true consecration!" said Raodath Amidou, founder of the startup Optimiam, minutes before she presented her anti-food waste application to François Hollande. Like about forty other contractors, this graduate of École Polytechnique Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Master's program had the privilege to talk with the President of France, on Thursday, 17 September, on the occasion of his visit on the Saclay plateau on the South side of Paris. François Hollande visited the new building dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation at École Polytechnique, "LA FIBRE ENTREPRENEUR – Drahi X-Novation Center", funded by the Lina and Patrick Drahi Foundation.
The President of France was accompanied by Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research, Thierry Mandon, Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research, and Anne Lauvergeon, President of the 2030 Innovation Commission.
Pride and Recognition for startuppers
Inside this 2,500m² center, François Hollande met ten startups currently accelerated or incubated at l'X or created at l'X, including ADM Polar, AirSerenity, Auxivia, Cardiologs, FeetMe, Instent, Optimiam, Prynt, Sourcelab, Stilla and Ynsect. "We want to show the President that it is possible to be an entrepreneur in France!" says Alexis Mathieu, co-founder of FeetMe, a company that develops intelligent connected soles.
For this Alumnus (X2010), this exchange with the President of France represents "a recognition of the work done." The feeling is the same for David Zhang, co-founder of Prynt which turns smartphones into Polaroids, who is "proud and impressed" by the meeting. Air Serenity's team was also able to present their technology of purifying indoor air.
After visiting the fab-lab, the prototyping space in the building, François Hollande spoke with nine students from the Cabinet Start-Up, École Polytechnique's student association dedicated to entrepreneurship. Etienne Dejoie, a student of Class 2013, had the opportunity to explain the organization of the "Startup Weekend" - flagship event of the association - to the President.
After visiting this new space, François Hollande made a speech to the guests of the Worldwide Innovation Challenge who were with about a hundred École Polytechnique students. He stressed "the values of commitment and excellence" embodied by École Polytechnique and also noted "its international and technological awareness, and its willingness to be at the forefront of innovation with other Saclay institutions". The President of France paid tribute to École Polytechnique's new Center dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation after noting the diversity of backgrounds and profiles of entrepreneurs met during this morning: "It is this mixture and the ability to federate talents that give this place all its creativity".
École Polytechnique will keep a reminder of the visit of the President who wrote in its Guestbook: "École Polytechnique moves forward, changes, innovates while remaining itself: the Republic's pride" .
Worldwide Innovation Challenge Prizes awarded to 19 laureates
In his speech, the President of France congratulated the 19 new companies selected in the second phase of the first Worldwide Innovation Challenge, whose names were revealed just before by Anne Lauvergeon. Among the laureates, two companies were created by École Polytechnique Alumni.
Dreem develops a connected headband to improve the quality and duration of deep sleep. It was launched by Quentin Soulet de Brugière and Hugo Mercier (M2015), two graduates of the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Master's program.
The Valvopulse project (Cardiawave), also held by an Alumnus, Benjamin Bertrand (X2003), aims to develop a new medical treatment device for calcified aortic stenosis (CARs).
After insisting on the importance of this global competition, "unique in the world", the President of France announced his intention to launch a second edition, extended to new topics including "collective security and protection against malicious actions."