|ENABLING THE DIGITALIZATION OF MANUAL PROCESSES IN THE INDUSTRY|
Behind the human
Can you introduce yourself in a few words ? What has been your background ?
I’m Rudy Cohen, CEO & co-founder of startup Inbolt. After attending a preparatory class for the grandes écoles, I continued my studies at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan for three years in civil engineering. I then opted for the Master MSc X-HEC Entrepreneurs in the 4th year, the period during which the InBolt adventure began.
What made you want to start a business ? What was your path to entrepreneurship ? Did you grow up in a family of entrepreneurs ?
At the ENS, I’m part of a student body that organised a music festival for students. The founder of this festival was a former student of the Master entrepreneurship of X and his feedback interested me a lot. Besides, I did not project myself in the salaried sector. I realized during my internships that I was under authority, which also led me to entrepreneurship. My grandfather founded a chain of hotel residences, my mother and my father-in-law a large locksmith group. The entrepreneurial dimension was therefore already present in my family.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you (in one word/one sentence) ?
In your opinion, what does it take to be a good entrepreneur ?
I think it is important to be able both to listen to others and to question oneself, while at the same time having enough self-confidence to keep moving forward despite the criticism and pessimistic rhetoric one may receive.
Can you tell us about the meeting with your partner(s) ?
We are three co-founders: Albane, Louis and me. We met at the beginning of the Master MSc X-HEC Entrepreneurs, where groups of three people are randomly formed to carry out a week of design thinking within a company. We were sent to Troyes, in a coach maintenance company. This mission allowed us to get to know each other since we shared the same hotel, but it also gave us the idea of our startup.
Do you have a role model when it comes to entrepreneurship? A mentor ? Someone who inspires you in your approach whether he/she is an entrepreneur or not? And why?
I greatly admire Bernard Charlès, the CEO of Dassault Systèmes®, first of all for his career, but also becausehe is a former ENS Cachan graduate. Then, I met many people who inspired me,like the person who recommended the MSc X-HEC Entrepreneurs Master’s degree and other founders of startups, especially those who went through the X-Up Incubator.
It’s really important to go out and meet your entire market potential up front and make sure you’re on the right track. Rudy Cohen, CEO & co-founder of InBolt.
Behind the startup
Can you introduce us to your startup? How did you get the idea? What problem does it address?
Our startup is called InBolt, and the idea came to us while we were on assignment at a coach maintenance company. We talked to operators, managers, directors… and a recurring problem came up in these discussions: the tightening of nuts on coach wheels and engine screws. After having met about fifty industrialists (aerospace, railway industry…), we realised that all manual processes were a problem for companies. We therefore developed a box that can be attached to each manual tool (torque wrench, screwdriver, drill…) and which allows the operator to be guided, to carry out quality control in real-time and to ensure the traceability of operations.
What were the major stages you went through in the development of your startup? What were the difficulties you had to overcome?
First there was the customer-discovery phase, which consists of validating the identified problem with market players. Then we came up with the idea for InBolt, which we iterated. Then we went to an incubator (the HAX) in Shenzhen (China) to prototype the product. Back in France, we are developing proofs of concept (POC) in the form of feasibility studies with our aerospace customers. The main difficulty we have faced is the reluctance of people with regard to hardware and the people who told us ‘it’s impossible, you won’t make it’.
Can you tell us about your experience at the Polytechnique Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center? How did the center benefit your startup?
When we were students in the MSc X-HEC Entrepreneurs Master’s program, we benefited from the help of the X-Up team and the prototyping space. We were able to take advantage of the FabLab a few months before leaving for China, and this allowed us to design our very first prototype. This space has an immeasurable number of machines, 3D printers, they have everything we need to make a prototype, and more!
How is belonging to the X startup community important for your startup?
For the network and the aura of X! It’s all very silly, but our first customers took the trouble to answer us when we sent them emails with the X address. The same goes for our first mentors, investors…
Any advice for an entrepreneur who would like to get started?
A lot of entrepreneurs go into business thinking they are going to solve a problem, without checking to see if it is really everyone’s problem. It’s really important to go and meet your entire potential market right from the start to talk to each other and make sure you’re on the right track.