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Gerondeau – Safran Prize : Winners highlight the trust and network impact

The 11th Gerondeau - Safran Prize was awarded to three start-ups - Beyond Aero, Manitty and PaIRe - for their innovations in the fields of aeronautics, biotechnology and nuclear medicine.

Les lauréats et le jury du prix Gerondeau-Safran 2021

For its 11th year, the Gerondeau - Safran* prize was awarded to three start-ups - Beyond Aero, Manitty and PaIRe – respectively operating in aeronautics, biotechnology and nuclear medicine.

The winners, like two of their predecessors present during the award ceremony, emphasized the quality of the selection made by the jury over the years, the importance of the confidence shown in their projects at the seed stage and the network impact of the Prize.

"This prize is awarded to start-up projects that are either emerging or maturing, and is therefore awarded either just before or just after the company is created. It is awarded by a three-way jury made up of École Polytechnique, Safran and École Polytechnique Foundation officials," said Denis Ranque (X1970), president of the École Polytechnique Foundation, in an opening statement.

« The jury can't have made much of a mistake, because most of the companies that have won awards over the past ten years are still here », he added, highlighting success stories such as Airthium, which specializes in the storage of solar-generated electricity, Wandercraft, which is developing a robotic walking exoskeleton to help people with motor disabilities regain their mobility, Dreem, which offers a connected headband worn at night to improve sleep and monitor brain activity, and Ÿnsect, which has become a world leader in the production of proteins from insects.

Franz Bozsak (D 1993), CEO and co-founder of Sensome, which was awarded the Gerondeau-Safran Prize in 2013, and which has developed a connected medical device for the treatment of stroke, also praised the jury's flair in choosing the selected projects. Ha also stressed how important it is to be challenged by the jury for entrepreneurs who sometimes are exaggerating the fear of being dispossessed of their idea. He emphasized the mark of confidence in the project that the Prize represents, the financial boost, particularly timely in the pre-startup phase, and the network impact.

Emeric de Waziers (X 2012), co-founder of Wingly, a platform that connects private pilots and passengers to facilitate flight sharing, which won a prize in 2015, said that one of the great boost of the Gerondeau - Safran Prize comes from "showing trust in companies that do not yet exist." He, too, stressed the importance of the Gerondeau - Safran label and its network impact, crucial for activities for which access to regulatory authorities is decisive.

You will find below, a presentation of the three winning start-ups of the 2021 edition:

Eloa Guillotin

Eloa Guillotin, co-founder of Beyond Aero

Beyond Aero, created by Eloa Guillotin (ISAE-SUPAERO, Master X-HEC Entrepreneurs), Hugo Tarlé (ISAE-SUPAERO, École polytechnique - M 2020) joined by Valentin Chomel (PhD student at the Institut Polytechnique de Paris) is developing a light, slient and sustainable small business aircraft with hydrogen propulsion and has already built a first remote-controlled demonstrator. "We want to build planes that can accommodate 5 to 7 passengers, silent and sustainable thanks to hydrogen. We have completed a first fundraising that allows us to finance our human-scale demonstrator and to expand our team. The next step is to fly a two-seater aircraft and continue the development of our technology," explained Eloa Guillotin. Beyond Aero has been selected to join the Blast program supported by Starbust, the world's leading start-ups accelerator in the aeronautics, space and defense sectors, and the French aerospace research center (ONERA).

Philippe Blasquez et Pascal Garcin

Philippe Blasquez and Pascal Garcin, two of the co-founders of Manitty

With Manitty, Paul-Antoine Libourel, a neuroscience researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Philippe Blasquez and Pascal Garcin, both students in the Executive Master's program at the École Polytechnique, are developing an all-in-one solution for monitoring physical and cerebral states. Composed of miniature, wearable sensors connected to an artificial intelligence platform, it revolutionizes the monitoring and understanding of the body by collecting and correlating numerous physiological and cerebral data. "Manitty is initially targeting the veterinary market. Our device enables, for example, to analyze the sleep of animals or to evaluate the anesthesia index and the state of pain after an operation. To date, we have developed a functional prototype and established partnerships with companies that allow us to test it in business conditions and optimize our AI. We plan to launch the commercialization in Europe within 18 months," said Philippe Blasquez. The applications of Manitty's solution are not limited to the veterinary market and could eventually spread to human applications: ambulatory medicine, home medical monitoring, monitoring for consumer electronics or even defense and security.

Pierre Saudin, Pascal Blanc-Durand et Paul Jehanno, co-fondateurs de PaIRe

From left to roght : Pierre Saudin, Pascal Blanc-Durand and Paul Jehanno, co-founders of PaIRe

Created by a doctor, Paul Blanc-Durand, and two engineers, Paul Jehanno (X 2012) and Pierre Saudin (Télécom Paris, Master X-HEC Entrepreneurs), PaIRe uses artificial intelligence to automatically detect and analyze anomalies in nuclear medicine. This device uses radioactive isotopes to explore pathophysiological processes and obtain images of the patient's metabolic functioning, notably via positional emission tomography (PET), a technique commonly used in cancerology. While the number of nuclear physicians is stable, there are more and more PET scans to be interpreted, PaIRe is developing a diagnostic assistance algorithm to assist physicians in their decision-making. Currently deployed in beta-testing on 11 PET scans in 6 centers, it automatically detects and segments tumors to extract the main quantitative parameters. "Our solution is highly sensitive, detecting 97 lesions out of 100, and provides physicians with an enhanced examination that helps them interpret the PET scan results. It saves time, increases confidence in the diagnosis and reduces measurement variability and errors," explains Paul Blanc-Durand.

* Created in memory of Jean-Louis Gerondeau (X 1962), the Gerondeau - Safran prize rewards start-up projects evaluated on the basis of the innovative nature of the proposed product or service, its economic potential and its ability to lead to the creation of a company. The prize is worth a total of 45,000 euros, to be divided among up to three projects.