The year 2020, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, has proved difficult for many French companies, especially start-ups. How did they experience the lockdown, how did they adapt and do they envisage the future? A status review, with 4 UTC gradentrepreneurs.
What did the confinement bring about for the development of your start-up?
LG : At the beginning of the lock-down, we made much more use of the written word to communicate. Decisions were also made in writing, which created misunderstandings and may have led to certain tensions within the team. CB : We have generalised teleworking for all our employees by providing everyone, in an emergency, with the necessary equipment for decent working conditions. Unfortunately, given the deadlines, it was not optimal for everyone PH : With my partner, we decided to mobilise our team and focus on our internal Medicamentum project, the 1st INCI beauty* drug, because Beyowi’s consulting and mobile and web application development activity was very affected by the containment.
How did you adapt? Have you made any longterm changes to the way you work?
SC : We stopped assembling our 3rd prototype and started designing the 4th in order to propose a more successful system once the health crisis was over. Within the team, we had already been working remotely for two years between Germany and France, so it was more the relations with the outside world that were impacted, because it is simpler to propose a videoconference. CB : We organised regular meetings and contacted each person individually to update our status knowledge. We were careful not to organise too many meetings, so as not to weigh too much on the schedules and avoid the feeling of being “spied on”. A project was born out of the confinement: the opening of a Coddity site in the Limousin countryside, a spacious and quiet working environment. In the long term, we plan to develop an activity in this little-known and often neglected region.
What is this year’s outcome? How do you plan for 2021?
SC : As our initial event-related activity was impossible under the current conditions, we decided to put it on hold and embark on a new adventure by seeking to respond to the problem of access to energy on the African continent. Several field studies in Africa are planned, as well as the meeting of a large number of actors and the production of the first prototypes. LG : Our communication has evolved over time, we know how to differentiate between exchanges that can or cannot be done in writing, which saves time and limits frustration between team members.. PH : Our incubation at H7 (a living space dedicated to entrepreneurs in Lyon) and our 4th place out of 50 projects in the Digital InPulse #App4Good competition in October made Medicamentum visible. We also recruited 3 additional people to accelerate development. * Application d’analyse de composition des produits cosmétiques SVEN CUSSEAU Mechanical engineering student, founder of the start-up ChargEos (automated mobile phone charging stations powered by solar panels). LUCIE GRATREAU Apprentice engineer at UTC in IT, founder of the start-up company Bring Lights (co-operative survey board game). CHRISTOPHER BELLIARD Founder of Coddity, specialised in web development and datascience activities. PASCAL HUYNH Founder of Beyowi, mobile and web development studio made in Paris