The startup of the day: HUMElab, the start-up that creates tactile and innovative furniture … with its users
The start-up based in Montreuil has its own production unit, to better control product manufacturing.
Frenchweb invites you today to discover HUMElab, a startup specializing in the creation of innovative and connected touch products.
The brand is built with its users by offering its customers the opportunity to participate in the development of the products designed. With its own factory located in Montreuil, it controls the manufacturing process, from the study to the finalization of the product.
To discuss it, Sébastien Fernandes, co-founder of HUMElab.
FW: How did you get the idea for your company?
Sebastien Fernandes : Our meeting took place during a crossover of the skills of the HUMElab partners. In fact, during a common project, we were looking for a tactile support that met our needs. Not finding the ideal tool, we highlighted the gaps in the market and decided to create it:
- starting from a reflection on uses and design
- continuing with prototyping
- then to the creation of the product, by creating a dedicated production pole in the Parisian suburbs in order to perfectly control the manufacture of this one and to promote the know-how of French engineering.
FW: What need are you responding to?
Sebastien Fernandes : We are responding to a need in the creation of new generation furniture that puts the touch at the service of uses and users. In addition to being designer furniture, it is robust, waterproof, functioning in daylight, modular with four choices of supports, customizable and at an affordable cost (which allows our customers to be able to invest more in the content).
We have been working in the field of touch for a few years and we knew where the needs were.
FW: Very simply, how do you make money?
Sebastien Fernandes : Thanks to a network of distributors and resellers established in Europe and, more recently, in the Middle East (Dubai).
FW: Who are your competitors?
Sebastien Fernandes : For professionals, I would say Samsung with the SUR40, PixelSense, Philips, Polyvision, My Multitouch. Regarding the individual, none.
FW: What or which companies are you being compared to in error?
Sebastien Fernandes : Apple. Not for bragging rights but thanks to the design of our first product: TABATA (TAble BAsse TActile). The fact that the edges are rounded and the product is touch-sensitive created a rapprochement with the shape of the iPhone 5, although our products run on Windows 8 and the screen size differs somewhat since the screen is 42 inches on this tablet.
The latest product we released, a dedicated kid-friendly touch table called LOLA, doesn’t have this comparison due to its colors and kid-friendly shape.
FW: What was one of the first issues in your development and how did you deal with it?
Sebastien Fernandes : Our first problem was the prototype of our first product as well as its industrialization. We responded to this by combining the skills of the shareholders – which allowed us to have a production center and a design office.
Subsequently, we were able to test the product with partners to collect their feedback, which allowed us to perfect the product until we could industrialize and market it.
FW: What is your main asset?in this market ?
Sebastien Fernandes : A disruptive and well-thought-out product design as well as a team with complementary skills. The crossing of our experiences (marketing, communication, design, production & technology) and the connection we have with our customers to improve our products on a daily basis leads us to design products with a time to market optimal, and a update of these easy to set up, thanks to our HUMElab production center.
Finally, these crossed skills allow us to enjoy freedom of creation and production and thus allow us not only to create industrializable material, but also tailor-made.
What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
Sebastien Fernandes : ” If you believe in it, go for it, undertake and give yourself the means to succeed! “. My father.
FW: Which personality do you admire the most?
Sebastien Fernandes : Elon Musk (the co-founder of Paypal, editor’s note) for his revolutionary vision and his entrepreneurial spirit.
Founders: Antoine Paufichet, Wesley Palanicaouden, Guillaume Quéré, Boris Bourbon and Sébastien Fernandes
Investors: BAGS & Prolabs (the founders’ companies) therefore self-financing
Creation date: start of our activity in May 2013
Number of employees: hiring expected very soon
Number of customers: around ten (Lagardère, EDF, Qatar TV, FNAC Monaco, and our network of resellers-distributors, etc.)