Building industry : the CSTB is launching an accelerator for startups in the digital




She finally arrives in the building. After you have changed the world of media, commerce, tourism etc, the digital revolution blows his wind of revival also on this area traditionally attached to the older models. The scientific and technical Centre for building (CSTB) has made the choice to seize the opportunities. Wednesday, October 11, the public establishment with industrial and commercial character (EPIC), the creation of which dates back to 1947, has launched its first accelerator of startups, the CSTB’Lab, devoted to companies that innovate at the intersection of digital and building.

“The support of innovation has always been one of our missions, and already for some years we have put our research at the disposal of startups, some of which (such as Partnering Robotics, specialized in the quality of the air, which now has 47 employees, editor’s NOTE) have become great successes and industry”, stresses the president of the institution, Etienne Crépon. “The goal of this Lab and now a better structure to this support,” he explains.

“The Lab wants to be a hyphen between research and the market, as it will facilitate the transfer of our technologies to the world’s economy, and their transformation into products and services”, says his future manager, Sophie Moreau.

A unique offering

The dozens of young companies that will have access to the accelerator will benefit as well of all of the assets of the CSTB: its 900 researchers -some of whom will be sponsors of a startup – and their “body of skills”; the results of the research; its hardware resources such as engines of calculation, digital platforms, and databases; its reputation and its network, academic, commercial, as well as its visibility at key trade fairs of the sector. “No offer of this kind does not yet exist to our knowledge in France. And the startups of the building, that we have interviewed, have shown a keen interest in the idea of working with us,” notes Etienne Crépon.

To complete its offer of support also business, the CSTB has chosen to rely on a company specialist in this field, Impulse Partners, who are already developing ecosystems startups/major contractors in the sectors of construction, energy, CONSTRUCTION, civil engineering and real estate. It will help in particular young companies to seek funding, develop their business plan, to establish synergies between them or even to find customers and to grow internationally.

Credibility and technical safeguards

The dozen startups that will be accompanied by 2017-2018 (for a thirty-three-years-old) “will be selected over the water, as a function of the credibility and the maturity of their project,” said Etienne Crépon. And “the digital will only be one entrance door in relation to the purpose to find innovative ideas to build better concrete”, stresses Sophie Moreau. Among the candidates present at the launch party, XtreeE, specialized in 3D printing at large scale, Snapskin, which has developed a software of modeling of buildings through a 3D scanner, or even Syscobat, which manufactures a system of construction mixing wood, concrete and elements digital.

All the participants pointed out their interest to the contribution from the CSTB, particularly in terms of the testing of their products vis-à-vis norms, obtaining technical safeguards, and certifications, insurability, and the credibility to invest in international markets.

“For us, the cooperation that we have launched in 2014 with the CSTB has been essential in order to scientifically validate our offer of a first robot anti-pollution”, also testified Ramesh Caussy, founder of Partnering Robotics.

A beneficial effect in internal

The Lab will, however, also a source of enrichment for the former public player that is the CSTB, is what one reads between the lines of the press release announcing the launch of the incubator, where the emphasis is on the “valorisation of research results”, but also on the”openness of the collaborative process” and the “dynamic of co-development’ expected of the process.

“I am convinced that the fact that our researchers are confronted with the culture of the young companies will also have a beneficial effect internally,” confirms Etienne Crépon.

The launch of the Lab’ is the second programme aimed at promoting digital in the building, launched by the institution in less than a month. The CSTB is to open a room, virtual simulation, interactive, equipped with a 4K display and touch-sensitive, backlit, a vision system immersive 3D, Picture in Picture, equipment of video-conference and immersive sound… The aim is to promote the use of BIM (Building Information Management), process of collection and management of information that is required gradually to the whole of the actors of the building, but also facilitate the coordination of the actors of the projects to the scale of the building as of the city. Startups hosted in the CSTB’Lab there, they will also get access.

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