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24/10/2016

Makitoo, the bug-hunting start-up

The Makitoo start-up offers developers a solution to eliminate bugs from their applications or software. Behind this promising company are two engineers and a researcher, who have succeeded in transforming a research project into an innovative product.

It all began just over three years ago. Martin Monperrus and Nicolas Petitprez were, respectively, a researcher and an engineer with the Spirals project team at the Inria Lille - Nord Europe centre (jointly with Université Lille 1*), specialised in the resolution of technical malfunctions. They decided to embark on the design of an innovative technology capable of detecting, analysing and solving bugs. It took them two years to get there. Convinced of the potential of their work, they wanted to set up a start-up and sell their product.

However, between a promising scientific idea and the design of software capable of being commercialised, the road is long. In order to realise their project, Martin and Nicolas were able to rely on the support of Inria and its help with the creation of start-ups. In 2014, they submitted an application to the research centre, which agreed to fund them for a year. Nicolas Petitprez is on secondment in order to devote himself full-time to the creation of the company. "It is a completely different profession. However, thanks to this pre-incubation period, the transition went smoothly. "

Instantaneous self-correction

At the same time, Inria put the two researchers in touch with Techno Founders, which supports the creation of innovative start-ups. Nicolas and Martin then met Emmanuel Dissoubray, an engineer who provided them with solid business expertise. The three men joined forces to create Makitoo in December 2015, and at the same time began to raise 450 000 euros in funding.

In March 2016, their anti-bug solution was finally ready to be presented to developers. Its principle is based on the automatic monitoring of the execution of software, "like diagnostic kits for cars ", Martin Monperrus describes. "For developers, understanding bugs is a very long and complicated stage, Nicolas Petitprez explains. In computing, having a good understanding of a bug means that you are already three-quarters of the way towards solving it. Thanks to the innovative technologies that we use, we are proposing a set of very precise information on the problem that has arisen. We can even propose tools to instantaneously correct the bug in production. " Today, the Makitoo solution is almost the only one in the world to enable this instantaneous self-correction of a technical problem. An innovation that allowed the young company to win the i-Lab competition for aid in innovative technology company creation last July.

CAC 40 customers

Makitoo has recruited two people since its launch. Emmanuel Dissoubray is CEO. Nicolas Petitprez left the Inria research institute to work for the company full-time as technical director. A choice that he assumes totally. "I had already workedin industry before joining Inria. Alternating between the two worlds suits me. At Makitoo, I am always doing very innovative things." Martin Monperrus, technical adviser, ensures the link with Inria and the world of research. Still a member of the Spirals project team, he advises his colleagues on the technical direction to take or on potential technological innovations. "I spend at least one day a month at Makitoo, and it's always an opportunity for very intense discussions. "

Today, around 10 companies use Makitoo technology. "We are in a pilot phase,Emmanuel Dissoubray explains. We are testing the product to see if it properly meets our customers' expectations, and which points can be improved. We have received positive feedback, there is a real enthusiasm for our product ". Originally available for Java language, Makitoo has also been compatible with JavaScript language since September, and a third version of the technology is already under preparation. Moreover, the CEO does not hide his ambitions. If, at the beginning, the technology was aimed at SMEs developing applications and software, today the start-up has CAC 40 companies in its sights.

One thing is sure - in three years, Martin Monperrus and Nicolas Petitprez's idea has come a long way. "And to think thatit all started with a discussion over a drink, Nicolas recalls. Since then we have seen our project mature, then become a product that, little by little, is finding its public.The experience has been very enriching, and that is very rewarding for us. "

 

Nicolas Petitprez Co-founder - CTO, Yves Matton Co-founder - Chairman, Emmanuel Dissoubray Co-founder - CEO


* within the UMR 9189 CNRS-Centrale Lille-Lille 1 University, CRIStAL.

Keywords: Spirals project-team Makitoo Start-up Martin Monperrus

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