Words from Patrick Bertrand, President Lyon French Tech

According to you, how does BigBooster contribute to promote innovation?

In addition to the fact that BigBooster, as an acceleration program for early stage startups in Bio/health, Informative Tech and Global Impact, in itself is promoting innovation, there are mainly two ways, among the numerous details that make BigBooster as an effective acceleration program, one contributing to the promotion of innovation.

The first one relies on international acceleration bootcamps with top-notch mentors and experts to test and improve value proposition, strategy and pitch. Basically, innovation is something new (invention) that finds its market (commercialisation) and that generates value for the world. Consequently, not only do you need to validate the « newness » of the proposal — what makes it « special » — but also the market it fits. To do so, testing and experimenting with feedbacks and support from mentors and experts, as well as using design thinking like approaches and focusing on what matters to accelerate the development of the product/service, are needed to promote and make innovation emerge.

The second way is the international opening between two main entrepreneurial and innovative places : Boston, its region, and the american market, and Lyon, the dynamism of its region, and the french and european market. Giving access to selected start-ups to the best of both ecosystems in terms of support, but also in terms of openness (network) and expertise, strongly helps finding « out of the box » ideas and solutions that make innovation possible. Moreover, understanding how both markets work and thinking about international development (« Think Big » as Lyon French Tech motto underlines) contributes to promote innovation both through diffusion and infusion of information.

What are the strengths of French startups?

One of the main strengths of the French start-ups is the highly skilled technical and scientific environment in which they evolve. France is renowned for the high quality of its engineering and scientific environment. Coupling such excellence with the fast growing adoption of the entrepreneurial ways and spirit of doing business and developing high impact projects is an explosive mixture for tech champions to emerge and grow.

Moreover, we have a really dynamic ecosystem integrating all the necessary components — and more — for the start-ups to help and support development and growth. Strong partnerships with big companies or public and French Tech supports, for instance, also help start-ups not only to develop but also to enhance their business, visibility and legitimacy.

Last of all, one of the « french start-up touch » components seems to be their strong positioning as high quality service, putting human at the core of their product or service and relying on the dynamism and unity of the ecosystem.

BigBooster choses a down-to-earth approach. Why do you think it is useful for the startups?

One — if not the only one — of the resources owned by the start-ups is time; and time is a highly valuable and limited resource. This is even more true while being in « start-up mode ». As a consequence, an acceleration program based on a down-to-earth approach that focuses on essential and critical points (such as testing the value proposition) is what startups really need: something practical and realistic.

To do so, bootcamps and international opening definitely help to focus on the definition of « what makes my start-up innovative and my product or service « a must have » — and not a « nice to have »».

On one side, the bootcamps are useful for the start-up to challenge their model and product because it’s the right time to model the value proposition, the strategy and how you present it. This latter part for instance is one of the most practical thing you need: to clearly and concisely explain the « why, what, how and who » of your project, which is essential. On the other side, the international opening helps fueling with ideas, solutions and network as well as with feedbacks that help building the early stage start-up projects.