Startups

Falco: employing cutting-edge sensor technology in sailing

Date:
Changed on 11/03/2021
Like practically every other sector, sailing has undergone a digital revolution. This was the direction Falco chose to plot a course in, developing wireless sensors that have played a major role in the digital revolution in sailing.
Port de Sète
© Thomas Watteyne

 

Launched in 2019, Falco has revolutionised security for ports and the way in which they are managed, developing a wide range of digital services centred around wireless sensors. Whether it’s notifications on berth occupancy for streamlining port traffic, surveillance sensors used to detect on-board incidents or white-label mobile apps for yachtsmen/women and port staff, the start-up has helped to take sailing to the shores of the digital revolution.

Co-founded by four individuals, Elsa Nicol (CEO), Keoma Laguna (CTO), Olivier Laporte, (an expert in the maritime sector and head of customer relations), and Thomas Watteyne (scientific advisor), the idea for the start-up was born within the EVA research team at the Inria Paris research centre. EVA, which has Thomas Watteyne as its director of research and with whom Keoma Laguna studied for a PhD in wireless computer networks, develops end-to-end solutions centred around a range of Internet of Things technology.

These solutions are deployed through a number of international partnerships as part of research projects in sectors ranging from smart agriculture and environmental measurement to smart construction. In 2017-2018, one of these deployments involved creating a “smart marina” in Cap d’Agde - which is how Falco came about.

In order to develop reliable technology, the team took part in a “Technology Transfer Initiative”, through which they were able to build up the initial capital they needed to recruit an engineer and to take classes in business education. During this period, the Transfer, Innovation and Partnerships Department at Inria Paris helped them to establish ties with its network of incubators, investors and entrepreneurs.

Verbatim

The support Inria provided us right from the off was incredible. Start-up culture is in Inria’s DNA, and they have all the resources needed to get you on the right path.

Auteur

Thomas Watteyne

Poste

Director of research of the EVA research team and co-founder of Falco

The start-up recently finished raising €1.1 million in funds and has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes, including the prize for the best innovation at the Paris Boat Show. With twelve employees and a branch in the USA, the start-up has spread its wings, but remains in close contact with Inria. They have strong ties with the EVA research team from which they emerged, with whom they have been working on a PhD project launched back in the autumn.

Verbatim

Inria is a fantastic incubator for knowledge and technology that is directly applicable to what it is we do, from electronics and networks to machine learning. We are very proud to be part of the Inria family.

Auteur

Thomas Watteyne

Poste

Director of research of the EVA research team and co-founder of Falco

Falco recently celebrated its second birthday. Their technology is currently used in seven ports, but in five years’ time the start-up is hoping to be a global leader in the smart port sector.

 

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