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Competition to aid the creation of innovative technology companies

AB - 27/08/2015

Inria start-ups on the podium at i-LAB 2015

Seven Inria projects have won awards at the i-LAB competition, organised by the French Ministry of Research (MENESR) and Bpifrance with the aim of identifying and supporting the creation of new French companies in the most innovative technological fields.

An essential component of French government policy for innovation over the past seventeen years, the objective of the i-LAB competition is to encourage French entrepreneurship by strengthening support for the creation of innovative start-up companies.

Originally intended as a pump priming tool, the i-LAB competition now seeks to encourage creativity and break down barriers between scientific and other disciplines. Presenting the awards for this year’s competition on the 1st of July, Thierry Mandon, Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research, commented,“The competition this year has confirmed the importance of public sector research as a seedbed for innovation and growth, as over 60 % of the prize winners came from that sector ”.

Inria is a perfect example, having encouraged the transfer of its research results and the creation of spin-off companies for over thirty years. The 2015 competition received 882 entries, and there were 174 prize winners, including seven from Inria. Three of these were in the ‘Creation and development’ category, and four in the ‘Emerging projects’ category.


Focus on the seven winning Inria projects

Winning Inria spin-off companies in the ‘Creation and development’ category

This category recognises projects that have already passed the proof-of-concept stage and are setting up or developing a new innovative company.
Winning companies are eligible for grants of up to 450 000 euros.

  • Mediego, created in 2015 by Anne-Marie Kermarrec
     ASAP research team, Inria Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique

“The aim of Mediego is to provide web publishers and e-businesses with a high-performance personalisation tool that is accessible to all businesses, regardless of size. Mediego sells a content recommendation system that installs easily in just three clicks and provides relevant personalised recommendations to web site visitors from their first visit to the site. The system developed by Mediego creates a network of alter egos in real time that are based on the browsing history of site visitors. These are then used to suggest relevant content. The Mediego recommendation system increases the number of pages viewed on key content sites, thereby maximising income, and improves the conversion rate on e-commerce sites”.

© Inria / Photo É. Garault

The i-LAB competition has raised our visibility in the innovation ecosystem and has enabled us to fully automate our product and develop new personalisation products ”.

Anne-Marie Kermarrec, Chief Executive of Mediego


  • Synectique, created in 2013 by Stéphane Ducasse, Philippe Valenza and Muhammad Usman Bhatti
     Rmod research team, Inria Lille - Nord Europe 

“Despite the availability of tools to measure metrics, the maintenance of software is still based on an examination of the actual code in order to understand the problems to be addressed. Nowadays, software systems have become so large and complex that development teams are being obliged to spend up to half their time analysing and understanding systems. Synectique has developed INVENTIVE TOOLKIT with the aim of offering its customers a set of tools to analyse software, guaranteeing a significant reduction of up to 50 % in the time devoted to maintenance. Our product consists of a platform adapted to the target language or languages used, displays of the most relevant information depending on the requirements of the user, and training for software development teams. The objective of these tools is to enable the user to understand, inspect, control and react to the problems associated with the maintenance and ongoing development of software”.

Stephane Ducasse © INRIA Stephane Ducasse - © Inria

The i-LAB prize will enable us to develop our product and sales force, and to build on our relationships with our customers (Thales, Siemens, Generali, and 4D) ”.

Stéphane Ducasse, co-founder of Synectique



  • YoGoKo, created in June 2014 by Thierry Ernst
     IMARA research team, Inria Paris-Rocquencourt

“YoGoKo designs, installs and implements an innovative communications system specifically adapted to meet the connectivity requirements of the haulage industry. This communication system consists of a number of communicating units installed in a variety of situations including vehicles, road and urban infrastructure, together with a cloud-based platform providing services and managing communications to and from these units. The system enables vehicles, infrastructure, control centres and portable devices to exchange information securely in a standardised way, using all available access technologies including Wi-Fi, 3G, satellite and power line communications. These solutions can then be used to deploy equipment management services, deliver software updates, determine locations, and carry out remote diagnostics”.

This success will provide YoGoKo with the resources needed to develop a robust product capable of revolutionising the connected vehicles market ”.

Thierry Ernst, Chief Executive of YoGoKo


Inria start-up projects receiving awards in the ‘Emerging projects’ category

The winners in this category receive a personal grant intended to finance initial studies prior to setting up a company.
The value of this grant can be up to 45 000 euros.

  • Solips, based on the work of Cédric Lachat, François Pellegrini and Cécile Dobrzynski
    TADAAM research team, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest

The PaMPA software library is used to manage distributed grids of large numbers of processors. The library offers a range of functions intended to facilitate the development of highly-parallel numerical simulation software, and to optimise the execution of these simulations on a large number of processors.

We are currently working with Dassault Aviation.This competition will enable us to find future customers and partners, and to consolidate our product with the various businesses active in the market ”.

François Pellegrini and Cédric Lachat, project leaders



  • Aetheris, based on the work of Hadel Grairia and Chedy Raïssi
    Orpailleur research team, Inria Nancy - Grand Est

Aetheris is developing a unique travel planning solution that is capable of learning the requirements of the traveller and preparing personal recommendations of suitable products.

This competition will help us to assess the feasibility of our project and to determine whether our idea of data crowd based travel planning is capable of changing the present on-line tourism landscape ”.

Chedy Raïssi, Scientific advisor



Open Health Simulation (OHS) intends to facilitate access to medical simulators for both medical students and specialists. In Europe, simulation is not yet an integral part of medical training, but with the SOFA platform, developed by Open Health Simulation, progress in hyper-realistic simulation is beginning to accelerate. The OHS project aims to spread the use of medical simulation throughout medical education.


© Inria / Photo É. Garault

The i-LAB competition is a recognition of the value of our project.It will also fund the initial stages of our process, including a survey of universities, other training establishments, and simulation centres, with the aim of refining our ideas ”.

Hugo Talbot, OHS project leader


Makitoo is a solution for the monitoring and hot repair of bugs during production. Despite the many techniques available to improve the quality of software, bugs will always occur once the software begins to be used. Makitoo offers a solution that warns the software developers of problems that arise in production, enabling them to apply hot patches to correct the fault immediately.


The competition has provided us with visibility and credibility that will help us in establishing future partnerships ”.

Nicolas Petitprez, Project leader

Keywords: Concours création d'entreprise MENESR I-Lab Innovation Bpifrance