How we’ve transformed hardware product design over the last 2 years

Welcome to Usine IO.

Adventure, passion and industry.

3 words to define the past 24 months.

Over the last 2 years we’ve explored numerous fields and learned much more about what we want to do and how to do it. The people we met along the way have taught us how to better understand and accompany all of our members. In 2013, just before launching Usine IO, we presented the project (a collaborative, incubating object-centric workspace) to 50 people over a three-month period and asked them what they hoped to get from such a service. The answer was clear: finding a collaborative workshop was important, but they also needed contacts in the industrial world, and advice about conception and development. Understanding this laid the foundations for what we have become today.

Two years ago we were considered ‘innovative’. Today we are veritable UFOs, a singular company. 2014 turned out to be an ideal year for object-orientated start-ups to launch their businesses, and today Usine IO accompanies 300 projects a year. We’ve managed to adapt our offer, and constantly ‘think out of the box’ to satisfy our members’ needs and enter a new era. Usine IO has a 1500-sqm HQ in the 13th arrondissement in Paris, but many of our projects reside elsewhere in France and Europe. How? Thanks to a ‘distance managing’ system that we never thought we’d manage to develop so quickly.

In just two years, Usine IO has gone from being a local start-up to a company that can direct projects across the world.

The fact that members sign up to access our services from afar proves that (though important) our value stems less from our locality in Paris than from our ability to bring significant know-how to project leaders wherever they are based. Usine IO is the answer to the fundamental question: “how do I get the most out of the professional experience and profit from the prototyping of expertly conceived products, whether they are in front of me or not?

Both our members and teams are interested in international development — getting to understand other cultures and working environments. Over the next three years we plan to expand our horizons, both physically and digitally. It’s early days, but we already know that our members are interested in Asia. They want to know how to make and sell their products there. Many of our Paris members don’t want to be limited to the French market. If China has more to offer, why not test their products there directly?

One of our greatest strengths is that over the last two years, with 500 projects under our belts, we’ve covered every industry there is.

Our fundamental vision for Usine IO hasn’t changed: we provide an important public service by facilitating access to specific resources — documentation, people, expertise and industrial contacts. Europe’s industrial landscape is awash with useful companies — and many of them are at your doorstep. And so our aim is to create links, and get people with ambitious projects to meet with local industrial players (who themselves, often struggle to find new and challenging projects that are both exciting and well-conceived). One of our greatest strengths is that over the last two years, with 500 projects under our belts, we’ve covered every industry there is. It’s a virtuous circle. By bringing together the points of views of engineers, technicians and project leaders from numerous sectors, our members can find advice and inspiration from a cross-section of industry players. Today, Usine IO has the ability to talk to a vast range of actors, from energy conglomerates and automobile companies to communication agencies and banks.

It’s this industrial and geographical ubiquity that led us to create Usine IO’s 5 P approach

A universal method at the heart of our international development that can be used on every continent. Now that we have celebrated our two-year anniversary, our aim is to make our methodology more accessible to those who don’t necessarily have technical experience. If you have an idea for a product, Usine IO can get you to prototype stage. We play an essential role in pointing you in the right direction, in France, Europe and elsewhere in the world. What we learned two years ago is still true today: when it comes to the creation of objects, project frontrunners need tailor-made advice and support. Over the next five years Usine IO will enter into a new era by getting over one main challenge: be the melting pot of a useful and well-thought out innovation.

You can rely on us.