1.What is your background?
After a career as a chemical engineer, the taste for entrepreneurship made me want to create Ecoat in 2011. I knew the world of paints well, an industry that was in demand of more “green” solutions. This emerging market was preparing to become bigger, with crucial innovation needs. So I launched my start-up which has the particularity of being a deeptech, that is to say which offers products or services based on breakthrough innovations. The ambition is to tackle the resolution of the major challenges of the 21st century, such as here, sustainable development. Our head office is based in Grasse and the factory is located on the OSIRIS chemical platform, which is one of the first French industrial platforms, in the Rhône Valley.
2.Why did you create Ecoat?
Ecoat is an innovation-driven company, with a mission to sustainably transform the paint industry through innovative technologies. After several years of research, we were able to manufacture 100% biobased polymers. We are the only ones to do so in France. Our customers are paint manufacturers, who in turn produce 95% bio-based products. We launched a first high-performance vegetable polymer in 2011. This enabled us to win the National Innovative Company Competition, organized by the Ministry of Research and Oséo, in the “Emergence” category. The following year, it was in the “Development” category that Ecoat was honored. The idea is therefore to offer environmentally friendly products that improve the carbon footprint of coatings and provide better quality for end consumers.
3.How is the company revolutionizing its sector?
There is a large part of technology first, with the performance in the innovation of our products, by replacing the raw materials of oil origin by renewable raw materials. Oleaginous products such as sunflower or soya represent the basis of our raw material. The notion of sustainable development is a fundamental value that guides our teams on a daily basis. This is why we have also developed the company on a training axis, which allows us to support our customers in reducing their environmental footprint. Carbon neutrality is at the heart of our actions and it follows the commitments made during the Paris Agreements on the occasion of COP21, the objective of which is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For the general public as well as that of individuals, there is an increasingly important awareness. They want to use better quality, more environmentally friendly products.
4.What are your goals for the next 5 years?
It has a strong eco-responsible tendency favorable to the development of ranges. The environmental commitment is real, and the demand is strong for biosourced products. Whether on the market of China, the United States, Europe or France, we will continue our development on a global scale. After a strong acceleration and 3-digit growth in recent years, our desire is to find a certain financial balance. And to find new levers to transform the company into an ETI. Our desire is also to become a leader in the decarbonization market and support companies and territories from A to Z in their net zero emissions trajectory.
5.How did the Bpifrance experts support you?
As a Greentech, Bpifrance supported us even before the creation of our start-up. The financial support they provide us is also essential for advancing research and development. The development and marketing time is very sometimes very long. A deeptech needs more time, especially in terms of financing, because it cannot be asked to have a breakthrough innovation, to be very disruptive and at the same time to be on the market with a finished product in not much time. Bpifrance also helped us to structure ourselves, to set up a high-performance team to make very different profiles work together, between scientific skills, that of the world of research and the international economic market. By challenging us on our ambitions, they help us to surpass ourselves and it is a real driver to cross the stages of entrepreneurship. Being part of the Accelerators program allows us to be well supported as SME managers. The program allows us to activate the right levers for growth and promote the creation of solid networks, which has allowed us to grow very quickly.
6. What does the Les Deeptech community bring you?
The community The Deeptechs is the first national Deeptech startup community. The various events organized by Bpifrance allow us to meet our peers and share experiences with other entrepreneurs who follow an economic model similar to ours. As a member of Les Excellence Bpifrance, the advantage is to be able to join a community that allows us to increase business opportunities and change the size of the company by expanding its playing field.
7. What advice would you give to another entrepreneur who wants to embark on the “Deeptech” adventure?
The “Deeptech” adventure allows us to be surrounded by a network of experts which allows us to be accompanied to measure. This allows the start-up to evolve quickly. It is a very efficient ecosystem that allows us to save precious time in the life of a company. Mutual aid and the sharing of experience are very important in this community. It makes our journey as an entrepreneur easier to feel listened to and understood, because each stage in the life of a company is decisive.
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