Discover Strasbourg: Growing European Innovation hub and ties with Boston…

In this interview we are going cross-atlantic. In Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Some of you might know Alsace for it’s delicious gastronomy, wines, history. Strasbourg is the european capital and has always been a place where interesting innovation happened: Think Bugatti as a starter, probably one of the most beautiful cars in the world, was built in small town of Molsheim. If you’ve been there you’ve surely seen or travelled into their magnificent and modern electric tram system that transport people in and out and across the city everyday. Strasbourg is also known for its impact in healthcare: Nobel prize winners, best hospitals in France, invention of remote surgery, the aspirin and more.

Our interviewed guest today is Nicolas Pellerin, an executive part of the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem development initiative. We exchanged with him on what is going at the present time in Strasbourg. We can tell you that: There is a lot happening…and it involves opportunities for Boston entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors!

Nicolas Pellerin

Before we start let us introduce you to Nicolas Pellerin. Here are few credentials about him…

  • PhD in cognitive neurosciences, Unistra, France
  • Professional experience
    • National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS – Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique) Research for Décathlon –Areva – EDF
    • Renault SAS (CAC40)-Research and Development Engineer
    • Alsace Biovalley – MedTech Project Manager- E-health
    • Eurometropolis of Strasbourg – Head of Innovation and Investment, Scientific Research Manager of the Nextmed, (Strasbourg medtech campus) program

Nicolas, can you describe briefly your role in developing the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem?

For many years now, we have been placing considerable emphasis on the “scientific research and university courses” sector, an initiative recognised by the 4 Nobel prizewinners currently working in Strasbourg. We provide the interface with sectors where innovation is key, such as healthcare, higher education, digital, clean and green tech and the creative economy.

What’s is Strasbourg’s vision for 2030 and how can people get more information about it?

Economic development is a political priority for the Eurometropolis and it was with this in mind that it has set out to drive a partnership-based effort to get everyone working towards boosting the area’s attractiveness. This was the basis for the Eco 2020 and the Eco 2030 roadmaps and the ambition is to lay solid foundations for the creation of 27,000 new jobs by 2030, by highlighting this city’s specific features, such as its being a European and regional capital, a hub for innovation and a network node central to European transport. This roadmap represents a strategic platform for leveraging the strengths of the Eurometropolis to drive its economic fundamentals.

Take a tour of Strasbourg NextMed ecosystem. Exclusive video!

Strasbourg and Boston are sister cities. In what fashion, would you like to develop further this relationship. Especially on the topics of innovation?

Strasbourg is located in the centre of Europe and as such can help companies gain access to the important markets of France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Eastern Europe. While it is interesting for North American companies to set up right in the middle of the European business environment, in the same way, French and European companies are looking to develop internationally and the North American market is strategic. We would therefore like to see Strasbourg as a launchpad for Boston-based companies, and reciprocally it would be useful for our companies seeking to expand to set up in Boston and have help getting into the American market. What might be particularly worthwhile is to have a Boston-based incubator/accelerator in Strasbourg (for example, an affiliate of the Cambridge innovation center).

Contact people for companies interested in setting up in Strasbourg are Nicolas Pellerin (nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu) and Guillaume Facchi of Alsace Biovalley (guillaume.facchi@alsace-biovalley.com)

Can you describe MedTech? When and how was it founded, what is it and why it’s an important move for the region?

Reducing time-to-market, this is the central aim of Nextmed, the medical technologies campus, which first got underway in Strasbourg in 2012 (the opening of the pH8 incubator for innovation-led start-ups). The real-estate part of the campus is simply the starting point – the real added value lies in the support given to companies, irrespective of their size. The internationally-renowned competitive cluster, Alsace BioValley, and the Satt-Conectus accelerated technology transfer initiative, play a leading role in helping companies bring their products to market, find licensing partners and raise funds. Support is vital for ensuring project suitability within an ecosystem encouraging business development, and for this, financing and support need to be consistent. No stone is left unturned to help local companies open up to the worldwide healthcare market. Some 1000 new jobs have been created since 2012 and over 25 start-ups have got onto the development path.

What is the call to action to people for MedTech? Who are you looking for? To help or participate? What is it offering?

Strengthening the connections between scientific and medical research and industrial development. Bringing key players together through a dedicated city-centre location. What the campus is offering is 3 key cornerstones for developing the sector: a city-centre location on a site with 1000 years of history, dedicated sector-specific services with market professionals, ongoing exchanges of best practices and meetings within the network.

Today, it’s all about statistics and data: do you have any figures to share so readers can put in perspective the

objectives and progress made both by the vision 2030 and MedTech?

  • 30,000 m² for businesses with the Technoparc, including 7000 m² of office space in renovated historical buildings.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals, the largest employer in the east of France, with 12,000 hospital staff and ranked 4th-best hospital in France by leading French magazine Le Point.
  • IRCAD : 6000 surgeons from countries throughout the world trained every year in the Strasbourg Institute
  • IRCAD : 3 sister institutes in Taiwan, Rio and São Paulo
  • University of Strasbourg : leading French university in terms of scientific impact (scientific papers cited worldwide, a key quality criterion) and 4th-ranked in France (leading university outside Paris), based on the Shanghai ratings
  • 4 Nobel prizewinners in chemistry and medicine currently working in the city
  • Business incubators on 13/01/2017 :
  • pH8 : 1000 m²
  • Biocluster : 800 m²
  • IRCAD 2 : 2000 m²

= 3800 m² for businesses

  • 300 million consumers in the world for medtech products
  • 300 medtech companies within a diameter of 400 km²
  • 14 world-class technological parks within the same diameter.

Who would you say are the most important players right now in the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem?

  • The SEMIA incubator: provides support for project leaders to help boost their chances of successfully entering the market, through links developed with university research and business.
  • SATT-Conectus: accelerated technology-transfer initiative helping to promote innovation and economic development through public-sector research
  • University of Strasbourg: ranked no.1 in France through its scientific papers , 4 Nobel prizewinners working in its faculties.
  • Alsace Biovalley: world-class healthcare competitiveness cluster
  • IRCAD: an institute with a worldwide reputation in digested-system disorders, 3 sister institutes worldwide (Taiwan, Sao Paulo and Rio opening soon)
  • IHU: University Hospital Institute specialising in image-guided surgery: the only one of its kind in France, unique operating facilities.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals: ranked 4th best hospital in France, largest employer in the east of France (over 15,000 employees in 6 units).
  • Local authorities: region, Metropolis, city, etc…

Are local “big” companies actively supporting the ecosystem yet? If so can you name a few? How important is that?

Industry is playing an important role in the innovation ecosystem as executives are often on the boards of agencies for developing and promoting innovation. Examples include the partnership between the Eurometropolis and ENGIE (Suez US trademark) for developing an intelligent transport system, and the partnership with the Orange group in digital innovation.

Strasbourg is known for medical innovation already. Can you describe some of the reasons why and name few key players you think contributed or contribute to this status?

There are a number of key players in Strasbourg involved in innovation in science, while our 4 Nobel prizewinners illustrate the city’s excellence in the area. We also have Professor Marescaux, the head of IRCAD, which he founded in 1994, and the 3 others. We have world-leading surgeons in the Teaching Hospitals, and it’s no surprise that Strasbourg is rated the 4th-best hospital in France (other examples include Professor Gangi and the interventional imaging department, and Professor Dollfuss and the world’s first bionic eye). These skills are constantly being enhanced through the crossover between University research groups, basically because in addition to the unique range of University courses offered in the region, Strasbourg has some 58,000 highly-qualified students coming to study in the city every year.

Finally, the fact that major groups such as Siemens, Medtronic, GE Healthcare, Karl Storz and Intuitive Surgical have set up in Strasbourg speaks eloquently of the attractiveness of the area and the real advantages it offers. Let’s not, however, forget the start-ups that we, along with other public authorities have helped in their development stage through, the city’s business incubators, such as pH8  (http://www.europtimist.eu/implanter-a-strasbourg/les-lieux-dimplantation-a-strasbourg/le-ph8-la-pepiniere-dentreprises-innovantes-de-strasbourg ).

The development of the Technoparc also sets out to offer real-estate solutions for these companies, but, more importantly, provides the link between start-ups offering innovative solutions and majors looking out for innovation-led initiatives.

Video of Strasbourg innovations

Take a video tour of Strasbourg’s innovations! Strasbourg has a lot to offer…(video in French but images pretty explanatory)

What are the main hurdles you have, if any, you wish you could overcome to achieve quicker the vision of Strasbourg 2030 and MedTech?

The biggest challenge is for stepping up partnerships between industry and scientific and medical research to facilitate the creation and development of start-ups and to help them gain access to major companies in the sector.

They need easy access to premises and venture capital and a fast-lane time-to-market process.

How easy is it today to get capital to finance innovation in France? Are foreign investors welcomed?

Investment in France in start-ups often means public seed funding, followed by private funding. The difference between France and United States is that in France the initial funding for getting a start-up off the ground is often too low and innovators are having to spend more and more time looking for money rather than getting their products onto the market. International investment funds are obviously welcome as they are crucial for getting into international markets.

In healthcare, the Alsace Biovalley cluster has set up a special innovative enterprise label which helps gear companies up for raising funds.

What is the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label (LEIP – Label Entreprise Innovante du Pôle)?
If you are selected by the Alsace BioValley cluster:

  1. You submit your project to the LEIP committee *, which will give you recommendations for improving it.
  2. You can receive expert assistance for implementing the LEIP committee recommendations.
  3. You resubmit your project to the LEIP committee, which can then give your company the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label.
  4. The Label gives you privileged access to our network

The Alsace BioValley LEIP committee:

Investors: 

  • Alsace Business Angel
  • Grand Est Capital
  • CM-CIC
  • Mérieux Développement
  • Medevice Capital
  • European Materials fund
  • Seventure Partners

To have further information on companies seeking funds, you can contact Alsace Biovalley (http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/)

What do you see as the strengths and biggest opportunities for Strasbourg / France’s Tech on going revolution?

Strasbourg, and France in general, have always had a strong tradition of innovation and medical and scientific research. We now have the SATT (http://www.conectus.fr/en) technology transfer accelerators to help us and we need to focus on boosting start-ups, both with regard to investment funds and market internationalisation.

Strasbourg’s geographical location gives what is already an international city a genuine competitive edge, amplified by its importance as a European capital at the core of European innovation and markets.

Any last words Nicolas?

A big thank you to you, Alistair, for this opportunity and we would be delighted to answer any enquiries (Nicolas Pellerin : nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu ) + linkedin

Thanks a lot Nicolas and to your team for the opportunity to interview you. This was a very insightful interview and I look forward to seeing the progress and next successes of the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem! For sure, more great things are going to happen here and we will do our best to spread the word here in Boston, USA.

Everyone, stay tuned…This is just the beginning!

Few Strasbourg web link for more information:

Blog medtech : www.medtech-strasbourg.eu

Alsace Biovalley : http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/

2016 Global Entrepreneurship summit: Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneurs panel

Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg speak with a panel of entrepreneurs at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit of 2016.

The presence of the president of the USA shows the importance given to entrepreneurship today. Entrepreneurial skills, mindset and outcomes are the key to navigating the current rapidly changing landscape that we talked about with Jay Samit few weeks ago and creating the future for communities and countries. (replay the webinar with Jay here)

We thought it was important for us to share with you this insightful event. We also provide below some quotes from Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg in case you don’t have the time to watch it all.

Quotes:

“The world has shrunk, it is interconnected, all of you represent that interconnection. Many of you are catalysing it and accelerating it. It promises to bring extraordinary benefits but also has challenges” Barack Obama

“Entrepreneurs launch products, companies and entire industries that transform the world: That’s the power of entrepreneurship” Barack Obama

“Entrepreneurship remains the engine of growth, that ability to turn an idea in a reality…that creates good paying jobs, it puts rising economy on the path of prosperity” Barack Obama

“The Silicon Valley…this is a place that celebrates our ability as human beings to discover, learn and build, to questions, to reimagine, to create new ways to connect and work with each other” Barack Obama

“(Entrepreneurship) It can create a culture where creativity and innovation are valued where we don’t only look at how things have always been but rather say: how could things be, why not, let’s make something new” Barack Obama

“The spirit speaks to something deep inside all of us. No matter who we are and where we come from” Barack Obama

“We live in a world where more than half the world is under the age of 30” Barack Obama

“Our job (Governments) is to put the tools and resources into the hands of those who are changing the world” Barack Obama

“We are also announcing the Young Trans-atlantic innovation leaders initiative which will bring 200 of Europe’s innovators to the United States of develop their skills” Barack Obama

“We have organization like Endeavor, which supports entrepreneurs, starting a 100 Millions fund to invest in companies across latin America, Middle-East and South-East Asia” Barack Obama

“Because ultimately the world needs your creativity and your energy and your ambition. You are going to be what helps this process of global integration work in a way that is good for everyone and not just some” Barack Obama

“You are the bridge, you are the glue. In particular the young people…who can help lead towards a more peaceful and prosperous future” Barack Obama

“We believe you (entrepreneurs) have the talent and skills and the ambitions not just to pursue your dreams but to realize them. That you can lift up not only your own families but communities and countries and create opportunities, prosperity and hope for decades to come” Barack Obama

“Entrepreneurship is about creating change, not just companies” Mark Zuckerberg

“The entrepreneurs that build things that lasts a long time, keep going, because they care fundamentally about the change they try to create in the world and they are not in it, just to build a company” Mark Zuckerberg

” If you do something good, if you help people out then eventually a portion of that good will come back to you and you might not know upfront what that’s going to be” Mark Zuckerberg

“It’s starts with a passion” Barack Obama

“We encourage governments to also listen to entrepreneurs” Barack Obama

Gary Jinks: Developing Start-ups, ecosystems from the Silicon Valley to the Middle-East

7c6860c6f92b98989f15928ed965c8cc-126x150Gary Jinks is an amazing individual and the founder of GLJ Group a company located in the Silicon Valley, California that helps entrepreneurs, corporations, cities and countries through “mentorship”, project management and training.

  • Teaching and driving entrepreneurs to be successful with their Start-ups:

This will prepare the entrepreneurs to the real life of an entrepreneur, dealing with board members and investors who have high expectations when you launch a startup, not falling in the basic traps that will lead to failure and bullet proofing your business and strategy.

  • Mentoring and implementing incubators for corporations, cities and countries (Globally)

Gary helps develop Innovative eco-systems around the world and is most recently doing some work in the Middle-East – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Emirates* (Go at the bottom of this article to read some insights we added on what is going on in the Middle-East right now in terms of Innovation and entrepreneurship – A great example of how to do things right – Many cities / countries can learn from).

Gary is also the founder and chairman of the board of South Valley Angels an investment group from the Silicon Valley that meet regularly and invests in a wide range of startups. He also dedicates some time to mentor students at the Santa Clara, Draper University and San Mateo College. (Yes! Entrepreneurship starts in school!)

More importantly, we picked Gary for this presentation because he loves what he does and delivers his science and expertise on product launches, innovation, investors with a lot of energy and passion.

It is always a pleasure to hear Gary and we hope you will find the information he provides in the below replay useful as well. In addition to this talk, if you are launching your startup now or want to learn more about how the whole start-ups world works (how to launch, etc.) we recommend you to read the e-book provided at the bottom of this post.

Webinar replay here:

Content: Developing Innovative eco-systems, Silicon Valley, Middle-East, launching startups, hot technologies in the “Valley”

 

*In the Middle-East: The region is investing and taking the lead in developing their future and diversifying their portfolio beyond petroleum, gas for many reasons. (Available reserves, the climate change driving customer behaviours to change for cleaner energies which in turn is driving the evolution of technologies such as electric cars, solar energy, hyperloop transportation systems etc.). It is absolutely fantastic and fascinating to see smart regions like this take their destiny in their hands early and believe in the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to resolve their problems and drive their economy. It is clear that many other countries and cities are falling behind the Technological revolution and should start thinking the same way.

Check out here the visions 2030 for each of the respective countries sited in this webinar:

Many other countries, cities need to go through similar exercises.

Visit Gary’s site here:

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Enjoy, please share

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If you enjoyed this content you may also enjoy this ebook (Guide for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to launch their new product)

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Bernard Kress: Serial Entrepreneur – Discussing the start-up and Innovation world

Speaker: Bernard Kress (Serial Entrepreneur), interviewed by Alistair Schneider (Founder Innovation Fast lane)

Bernard

Bernard Kress, resident of Silicon Valley, serial entrepreneur and Executive at Microsoft, with a background in optical engineering with emphasis on micro-optics and holographic technologies, applied to Virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Smart glasses products. Bernard is also a professor at University, instructor of short courses, international conference chair, speaker (UNESCO), and author of numerous books on this technology (published by John Wiley and Sons, McGraw Hill). Throughout two decades spent in the Silicon Valley, he has launched numerous start-ups, helped develop several industrial and consumer products, and holds more than 30 international patents. He has worked lately with some of the most innovative companies in the world to develop some of the most exciting consumer products, such as Glass at Google [X] Labs and HoloLens at Microsoft.

Note: The interview was conducted while Bernard was still at Google. He works today at Microsoft (Hololens).

What makes California, Silicon Valley so successful when it comes to innovation?

 

What does it take to create a successful start-up?


What differentiates winners and losers in the innovation game?

Who are your role models and source of inspiration?


Any advice to entrepreneurs and innovators around the world?

Note we have changed our twitter to @startupsinno