|INNOVATION AT THE SERVICE OF AGEING WELL|
Behind the human
Can you introduce yourself in a few words? What has been your background?
My name is Antoine Dupont, 29 years old and I am an engineer trained in the automotive industry. I also studied business, during which I gravitated towards the entrepreneurial world through internships and associations. I met my partner during these studies in 2014 and we created our company in 2015.
What made you want to start a business? What was your path to entrepreneurship? Did you grow up in a family of entrepreneurs?
I consider myself fortunate to have benefited from the French system when it comes to education, healthcare, and having a family that was able to help and support me. For me, entrepreneurship was a way of giving back by creating activity and employment, particularly in an industry that has a social dimension. Apart from sole traders, there are no entrepreneurs in my family, that is not in the sense of actually creating companies.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you (in one word/one sentence)?
I would say that entrepreneurship is first and foremost a state of mind that is not suitable for everyone: one should not get into it out of greed or be naive about the difficulties one is going to encounter.
In your opinion, what does it take to be a good entrepreneur?
Listening is the first quality. You have to know how to listen to others to learn not to be stubborn about your ideas and to become resilient. I would also say that you have to learn to surround yourself well, be humble, curious and know how to manage the work-life balance.
Can you tell us about the meeting with your partner(s)?
We met during our 6th year of business school, where the common thread was the creation of an entrepreneurial project. We came up with a triptych of subjects that interested us both: health, technology in the broadest sense, and the care industry, which is somewhat the forgotten industry of the medical sector. This is how we naturally joined forces to create Auxivia.
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?
No, I’m not a big fan of idealism. I like to think we all have a singularity that must be reflected in the projects we undertake to remain authentic.
Behind the startup
Can you introduce us to your startup? How did you get the idea? What problem does it address?
The project was initiated in 2014, following the meeting of many health professionals as part of the entrepreneurial project we had to carry out as students. The company was created in 2015 and aims to develop innovations to support healthcare professionals in caring for dependent people. We market a monitoring and traceability service for hydration that involves the use of intelligent lenses that are offered in care units to prevent dehydration in structures such as hospices or clinics. We are currently working on another service related to the prevention of undernutrition.
What were the major stages you went through in the development of your startup? What were the difficulties you had to overcome?
There was an initial in-depth research that enabled us to prototype and recruit the first employees. Then there was a second phase of industrialisation and commercial design of the service, followed by the launch of marketing. I see four types of difficulties. First, there are industrial and financial difficulties. I would also add the temporal difficulty, because the slightest mistake at the industrial level can result in the loss of several weeks or months. Finally, there are sectoral difficulties, since we are in a sector where there are few financial resources and where sales cycles are particularly long in relation to the average basket.
Can you tell us about your experience at the Polytechnique Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center? How did the center benefit your startup?
We stayed with X-Up for a year, which allowed us to focus on the most important points of our business project and not to spread ourselves too thin. This experience also helped us build a network that allowed us to obtain public funds more quickly. Another benefit has been to confront other entrepreneurs on the issues common to any company creation. Finally, we were also able to prototype quickly thanks to the X-Fab. It was a real springboard for us.
How is belonging to the X startup community important for your startup?
We found investors and investment networks that we would not otherwise have had access to.
Any advice for an entrepreneur who would like to get started?
Surround yourself very quickly with people who are 4 or 5 years ahead of the topics that are addressed. I think that maintaining the company’s network is also a very important element that should not be neglected.