Startup Studio

Numerous Inria start-up projects rewarded in national i-PhD and i-Lab competitions

Changed on 20/07/2023
Seeking to meet the target of doubling the number of deep tech startups in France, Bpifrance launched two competitions - i-PhD and i-Lab - as part of the French government’s Deeptech Plan.
These competitions were set up to identify young researchers with entrepreneurial projects involving the use of disruptive innovations. Prominent among these have been startups which began life within Inria.
Remise de prix i-PhD et i-LaB
Secrétariat général pour l'investissement

i-PhD: a prestigious innovation competition supporting the most promising projects

i-PhD is an innovation competition that is open to young researchers and PhDs looking to launch a deep tech startup based on their research. Back on 4 July the panel selected those projects which they felt had the most potential.

The winners will receive a year’s worth of support combining mentoring, coaching and immersion within the deep tech ecosystem, and will join a network of winners of innovation competitions as well as the Bpifrance network, granting them significant visibility (in the media, podcasts, videos and pitches at events).
They will also receive funding worth up to €30,000.

i-Lab: a cutting-edge competition to fund the best research and development projects

i-Lab is a competition that rewards the best innovative technology startups – this includes “creation-development” projects and companies that are less than two years old.

Bpifrance provides financial assistance (up to €600k) in addition to tailored support for these startups.

A great result for projects supported by Inria Startup Studio

The results speak for themselves: almost all startups supported by Inria through Startup Studio, whether in the planning stage or having already been launched, received awards.
This is testament to the excellence of the Inria Startup Studio programme, which has been supporting digital deep tech startups for the past three years.

In addition to funding and support, Inria Startup Studio also provides a conducive environment for scientists looking to take the first step towards becoming entrepreneurs. Building on the tools Inria has deployed over close to 30 years to enhance the impact of startups, ISS focuses on the entrepreneurial dynamic emerging in the world of science.

A closer look at the winning projects

Centre Inria d'Université Côte d'Azur

  • I-PhD : CellEmax was awarded the grand jury prize in the Pharmacy & Biotechnology category. Its technology combines live-cell imaging with machine learning for use in identifying molecular targets and devising treatment combinations that will guarantee the success of developing immunotherapies.
  • I-PhD : DareWin Evolution, a winner in the Pharmacy & Biotechnology category, uses an innovative, dynamic approach to Darwinian selection in order to naturally boost the productivity of microalgae. Their proofs of concept show that a greater than twofold increase is possible after a few months of selection.
  • I-PhD : NeuroPin was awarded the grand jury prize in the Medical Technology category for its software solution, which provides radiologists with a more reliable and reproducible way of detecting and measuring the regions of the brain and any anomalies, for one or more MRI images of the brain over the course of a lifetime. Not only does this save time, but it also enhances the precision of reports, helping to improve diagnoses.
  • I-LaB : Pulse Audition  has developed smart hearing glasses that enable people with a hearing impairment to choose what they want to listen to in noisy environments, employing the use of cutting-edge speech enhancement technology developed using artificial intelligence. This startup began life at Inria Nancy - Grand Est before moving to the Côte d'Azur University Inria Centre.

Centre Inria de Paris

  • I-PhD : AlphaBrain, a winner in the Medical Technology category, has developed an augmented brain monitoring solution for general anaesthesia. This AI tool conducts real-time analysis of EEG (electroencephalogram) brain activity in the operating theatre, combined with physiological signals. It provides doctors with suggestions on the correct dose of anaesthetic to be administered in order to ensure optimal depth of anaesthesia, as well as on the right blood pressure to maintain in order to ensure the right level of cerebral perfusion, thus preventing any post-op complications.
  • I-PhD : DecorAR, was a winner in the Digital, Software Technology & Communication category for its cutting-edge platform which combines artificial intelligence with augmented reality to improve the online purchasing experience for customers of furniture suppliers.
    The project is designed to align customer preferences with the available options in a transparent way, teaching machines the basics of interior design. It also provides customers with a captivating 3D view of products for a customised, immersive and hassle-free furniture shopping experience.

Centre Inria de l'université de Bordeaux

  • I-PhD : Poucet, a winner in the Digital, Software Technology & Communication category, is a project for testing web applications. Testing is fundamental for web tool developers, but it is also costly. These tests are written and often executed by hand for each new version of the application. Poucet observes how users of these applications behave, using machine learning to generate tests in order to ensure that users do not encounter any bugs.
  • I-PhD : Vidibio, a winner in the Digital, Software Technology & Communication category, has developed a simple solution for detailed monitoring of biomass and biodiversity in hedgerows. Using a scanner on a smartphone, this technology will help to improve the deployment of financial incentives aimed at encouraging farmers to manage hedgerows in a more sustainable way.

Centre Inria de l'Université de Lille

  • I-PhD : Compliance Robotics, a winner in the Materials, Mechanics & Industrial Processes category, is aiming to develop the next generation of robots for industry, drawing on the innovative field of soft robotics. This flexible and versatile solution is less resource-intensive when it comes to producing and operating robots, and can be used in sectors where robotisation has proved more difficult, such as agribusiness. Not only that, but it also has the capacity to help make industrial robotics more sustainable.
  • I-Lab : Nijta has developed unique speech anonymisation technology involving the use of artificial intelligence. It is designed to protect against emerging threats to privacy and confidentiality, while preserving the quality of speech data.

Centre Inria de l'Université de Rennes

  • I-Lab  : Malizen has developed ZeroKit, a solution for visualising intrusions into IT systems. This innovative tool provides security experts with a more intuitive way of working, speeding up response times in the event of a cyberattack.
  • I-Lab : DeepHawk has developed software designed to facilitate the integration of artificial intelligence in industry. There is also a cognitive sensor which supplies information and detects any defects in manufacturing components (in sectors such as the automobile industry or metallurgy). The project has received support from Patrick Bouthemy (senior research director in image analysis), from Inria Startup Studio, and from BPI France’s Tandem system, which startup owners can use to search for profiles that will dovetail with that of the project leader(s) for the needs of their business.

Centre Inria de l'Université Grenoble Alpes

  • I-PhD : Voyance, a winner in the Digital, Software Technology & Communication category, is an innovative platform for analysis and optimisation of company workflows. Using advanced simulation technology and by integrating the best optimisation algorithms developed over more than a decade of research, Voyance Systems enables companies to reduce their environmental impact (greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water, etc.) while improving operational performance.