[Made in Bretagne] A Breton digital dynamism which challenges Parisian hegemony!
One year ago,West Web Valley and its partners launched a challenge: “Create an infographic of the Breton digital ecosystem (with 5 departments, of course!)”.
An exemplary and growing ecosystem
The three French Techs of the territory (French Tech Brest +, Nantes Tech and the French Tech Rennes Saint-Malo) confirm their role as essential entry points for any person or structure wishing to advance in digital. Frédéric Nicolas, Adrien poggetti and Stanislas Hintzy, the 3 French Tech bosses of the West and their teams are not lacking in ideas to animate their respective territories by finding numerous complementarities (Nautic start-up, start-up in the West, HR event at station F … ).
Another reason for satisfaction for 2018, and not the least, we continue to see the rise of many private initiatives throughout the territory and the arrival of many talents from other metropolises.
The 2018 vintage of our mapping presents two types of players absent last year: influencers and research organizations.
Influencers are these umbrella figures who strongly inspire an ecosystem. This is particularly the case with the Guillemot brothers. The founders ofUbisoft continue to mark millions of gamers through their many video games, but they are doing much more. One of them, Christian Guillemot, elected in the small town of Malestroit, continues to lead and help project leaders with his incubator, the Nursery.
Other personalities direct the ecosystem internationally, such as Kwame Yamgnane, Deputy DG ofschool 42 in Silicon Valley from Saint-Coulitz (29), or even from Yann Le Cun, the boss of artificial intelligence at Facebook who did not fail in 2017 to drop by to make a jump in his region of heart.
It is a safe bet that this “metro line” will grow in size in the future and that new stations will emerge there.
Education and research, the strength of the territory
A high level of training is an essential element for a territory to innovate in the medium or long term. Regarding the teaching of IT development, the “digital school” system continues to irrigate the territory and trains future talents: code.bzh, Digiskol, UBO Deust TMIC…
At the level of engineering schools, digital has also become the watchword. Many of them are launching their incubator and / or accelerator in order to stay in the race like theENSTA with his ENSTArtup (Brest). We believe that the merger between training and companies and the cross-fertilization of sectors will give birth to high-level project leaders so awaited by start-ups and companies.
We have also added a “research” metro line which is the basis of a few start-up projects. Obviously, not yet sufficient for our taste. Breakthrough innovations are still rare and researchers are not yet in sufficient contact with entrepreneurs to acquire the start-up culture that they often lack, to get out of their product vision and go to the market. This is one of the challenges to be taken up in 2018. Note the presence of IRT B-com and Jules Verne whose positioning in the ecosystem should become clearer in 2018.
Start-ups: more and more of them are in a gray area
We have doubled the number of start-ups present compared to last year. Despite this effort, this list of around fifty start-ups is of course not exhaustive. We count a little more than a thousand start-ups (or start-up projects) established in the territory.iAdvize (Nantes), Klaxoon (Rennes), Advalo (Rennes), Lengow (Nantes), Camping & Co (Saint Malo), Allovoisins (Nantes / Brest), Digital CHR (Brest) …
We had to add the great hidden French champion of IoT: the Costa Rican Actility (70 million euros raised) which has just been doubled at the last minute by the Brest-based start-up of Jean Chaoui, Imascap which has just been sold to Wright Medical Group for $ 88 million. Also note the integration of French Tech passes boosted by the Images & Networks division: Cailabs (Rennes), Apizee (Lannion), Telecom Health (Rennes), Imeon Energy (Brest), Energiency (Rennes) …
But what becomes of the mass of start-ups hidden behind these champions: you will notice that we had to remove some of them from last year’s infographic to add promising new ones. Not all of them will become the flagship of the territory despite the talents that make up these structures. More than 30% of start-ups are in a gray area where the eternal question arises: should I continue to be resilient or should I join or switch to another project?Accelerator / incubator: looking for new models
Others have confirmed the relevance of their model as OFF7 of Ouest France, the accelerator of West Web Valley, the program West Startup of the French Tech Brest + or the Booster of French Tech Rennes Saint-Malo… Some private initiatives based on less successful bases are beginning to see the limits of their model.
On the coworking side, not all spaces will last despite the need for these third places. Note, the remarkably well-crafted initiative of the Colloc ‘ in Lorient.la Cordée is also established in Nantes and taking advantage of its Rhône-Alpine experience still aims to network the territory.
Association and public bodies: the necessary glue
Competitiveness poles at CJD, Passing by Atlangames or the network undertake… All these actors participate in the vitality of the ecosystem. They reinvent themselves with the agility of private structures that heckle them in their daily lives. Let us quote for example, the remarkable work of the teams of the seven technopoles of Brittany omni present in the French Tech devices, in the organization of events or the orientation of the project leaders towards public or private devices …
Companies in digital transition: more and more numerous!
They are no longer surprised when a project leader comes to see them to offer them a POC. In addition, they are also less reluctant to pay for the latter.
We have a textbook case in the region: it is the Arkea. This is an example in the world of FinTech. On the scale of a bank, its small size (9,000 employees) still makes it possible to be agile from the tip of Brittany. It is this banking actor who launched online banking very early on with Fortuneo and who believed in the fundApple-converted-space “> in 2015 from Leetchi/MangoPay was a click, the acquisitions of shareholdings or POCs are linked every month infusing the start-up culture among employees: Pumpkin, Younited Credit, Yomoni, Bankin, Neon, Grisbee, Masuccession.fr, Kengo…
Events: towards more and more professionalism and influence at the national level
Let’s start with the new but still promising one, “Inbound Marketing France»Which will take place on January 31, 2018 in Rennes. The ambition is to create the 1er French-speaking and international Inbound Marketing event with quality speakers, workshops and a well-organized program …
A week later, on February 8, in Brest, the second edition of the West Web Awards which reward Breton digital talents. Applications are open until January 24. The first edition rewarded twelve talents in front of more than 300 people.
The events that shaped the territory continue to develop and impose themselves on the national scene: Web2day (5000 visitors), West Web Festival (800 people / 25,000 streaming) during the Vieilles Charrues (280,000 festival-goers), Digital Tech (Rennes – 600 people), Start west (30 funds present)…
Funding: good projects easily find money
Today, the financing chain is fully covered locally for tickets ranging from a few thousand euros to 3 million euros.
Business angels continue to work and be an essential link in the funding chain. Emerging entrepreneurs have the chance to rub shoulders with them easily: ABAB, Breizh Angels, Logoden, …
As in the national territory, alternative financing is taking off with many Breton platforms: options.bzh, Gwenneg, we do good,Kengo, Finple… We believe that a consolidation will occur in the coming years.
Venture capitalists are in working order and enjoy co-investing together: Nestadio, Fair West, Go Capital… The West Web Valley continues to denote in this universe. Project leaders can push their door from the idea for pre-acceleration or when the start-up has its first KPIs. At this stage, it is the fund of 35 million euros which is activated with amounts ranging from 100,000 euros to more than one million euros (and up to 3.5 million in all, reinvestments included). In addition, it has access to more than 300,000 euros in benefits from its partners (AWS, OVH, Microsoft, MangoPay, etc.), around a hundred thematic coaches and the West Web Festival network. To date, around ten start-ups have benefited from it (Advalo, Energiency, Inlead, Kepler soft, Air Business…). For project leaders not integrated into the system,startup-box.io, the first marketplace dedicated to services for start-ups: packaged offers from the best partners and at prices negotiated by the West Web Valley.
The density of these actors, the ease of access to the teams of the BPI, quality of life and well-being at work undoubtedly make it the ideal place to work in digital and innovation. It’s time to move west!
Sébastien Le Corfec is a Web entrepreneur. He is one of the organizers of West Web Festival during the Vieilles Charrues, and co-founder of the West Web Valley start-up accelerator.