The start-up of the day: Qucit optimizes the sharing of self-service bikes thanks to predictive analytics
FrenchWeb invites you today to discover Qucit, a start-up in Aquitaine which provides solutions for real-time analysis and optimization of urban mobility, more specifically shared vehicle systems. She is supported by the Aquitaine Regional Incubator.
More details with Raphaël Cherrier, founder of the start-up:
FrenchWeb: How did you get the idea of creating this start-up?
Raphaël Cherrier: When the VCub (the Vélib de Bordeaux) was launched in 2010 I was one of its first users. I was quickly confronted with the frustration of noting that the station next to me was sometimes empty, sometimes full in a more or less random way, and this despite the teams in vans moving VCub to try to balance the stations. .
Thanks to my experience in data analysis (PhD in Statistical Physics and experience on automatic trading systems) it seemed obvious to me to build models capable of describing and anticipating mobility behavior.Apple-converted-space “> which consists of selling prediction and optimization services for systems related to urban mobility (self-service bicycles, self-service cars, public transport, parking lots).
Who are your competitors?
For all that is real-time management of urban mobility, large multinationals, IBM in the lead, are already on the question.
Nevertheless, we have chosen to approach the market by dealing specifically with the optimization of self-service bicycle systems. And in this market we don’t really have any identified competitors. For a fairly simple reason: these systems are very recent and they started in France (in Lyon in 2005) before today experiencing very strong growth in Asia and the United States, but with a minimum delay of 5 years. For example, New York installed Citibikes only in June 2013, six years after Paris.
On our other competence which concerns the optimization of infrastructures (where to place the stations, what size to give them, how to enlarge an existing network, …), our competitors are consultancy firms specializing in urban planning, urban planning services or the operators themselves. For example, Altermodal which carried out the installation study of the Vélo’v or the Apur which carried out that of the Vélib.
How do you stand out?
We provide a more efficient solution, which takes a large amount of data into account in real time and which saves time for human operators. This is why Qucit won the Concours Mondial de l’Innovation in July 2014. Our difference is linked to the fact that we take into account a very large number of data flows, that we process them in real time using rigorous statistical models to add decision-making support tools to the operators’ field expertise. that can be configured according to the precise objectives to be achieved.
Since when have you been supported by the Aquitaine Region Incubator? What do you expect from this support?
We have been supported by the Aquitaine Regional Incubator since January 2014. In practice, this support was very useful at the start, in particular thanks to the reimbursable advance which allowed me to quickly take my first interns and follow the Challenge + program from HEC. Today the project is sufficiently advanced for a transition to be taking place towards a structure more centered on the industrialization of our technology.
What was one of the first issues in your development, and how did you deal with it?
The first problem was to recruit the right people to accompany me in the adventure. This posed a big problem for me at the beginning, because I was not at all “connected”, I had never thought of maintaining or developing a professional network. So, for a little over a year I have been going out a lot more. For example, I got in touch with the associations of former students of the Ecoles Normales Supérieures, I meet as many people as possible to explain what we do at Qucit and try to see if it creates enthusiasm. Even today, I believe that recruiting the right people is probably the most fundamental point in the development of a startup. So far, my efforts have paid off and the doctors and engineers who join us are all highly motivated.
What were you doing before founding this company?
I was a teacher-researcher in fluid mechanics at the Arts et Métiers de Bordeaux.
What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
I do not listen to advice too much but there is a phrase that is my leitmotif and that I repeat to myself every day: a company must above all create value, that is to say work to solve a problem that really matters and avoid convincing herself of the value of what she does.
Who is the personality you admire the most?
Undoubtedly Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors for his ability to tackle subjects having a very strong impact on society, for his global vision of the future of the human species and for his incredible determination.
Founders:: Raphael Cherrier
Creation date: May 2014
Company based in: Talence, near Bordeaux
Effective: 6 people including 4 employees
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