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[Interview]Neolithe cofounder talks us through his six months at X-UP, École Polytechnique’s start-up incubator

Applications for the 11th promotion of X-Up close on December 15. Nicolas Cruaud, co-founder of Néolithe explains why he thinks his start-up has beed selected to join the École Polytechnique’s incubator and what have been the key benefits from this opportunity.

Granulat Néolithe

 
What have been the key success factors explaining Néolithe’s selection to join X UP ?
I think the potentially huge environmental impact of our patented process based on the fossilization of waste and therefore incineration and landfilling has impressed the reviewing board. This technology enables to reduce carbon emissions of current comparable processes by 80%. It is also affordably scalable and easy to industrialize. Developing a truly innovative technological process was also critical, X-UP being highly technologically oriented.
 
What did your six months at X-UP bring to your project, strategically and operationally ?
Strategically, X-UP incubator helped us to build a coherent market entry approach. It also enabled us to confront our long term objectives to operationnal issues that we were not fully grasping. Operationnally, workshops, round-tables and one-to-one discussions with experts helped to equip our team with the complete entrepreneurial tool box. It may sound basic but it is really crucial. Leveraging on École Polytechnique’s network of alumni, we have been able to meet with key industrial players and potential partners in our targeted markets as well as with experts in our range of businesses. Last but not least, X-UP brought us a visibility and a credibility thanks to École Polytechnique’s franchise in France as well as internationally that serve us everyday.
 
What would you recommand to X-UP applicants ?
I would strongly recommand applicants to carefully check the technological relevance of their project, even if it is not yet completely finalized. The reviewing board will not get fooled by hype words such as AI, Machine learning or Big data if there are just words with nothing serious and concrete behind them.  If the technology can have a major positive social impact, that will certainly make the difference too. Serving public interest is deeply rooted in École Polytechnique core values and I think X-UP is very much in line with these values. Moreover, École Polytechnique network is amazing and X-UP is a great way to be part of this ecosystem, even for an X alumni !
 
Launched in 2019, Néolithe develops a technology to transform non-recyclable household waste, such as fabrics, plastics or food waste, into mineral aggregates that can be used in construction, particularly in road subfloors.