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Other innovations 17/12/2015

​ENGIE at X startup weekend

L’Ecole Polytechnique (X) hosted its third Startup Weekend from December 11th-13th. This was the first time ENGIE was a partner of the event, and Guillemette Picard of the ENGIE New Ventures Fund (and an alumna of X) was part of the selection committee that evaluated the projects after 54 hours of testing and relentless development.

Polytechnique’s startup weekend

The weekend started off in the now-classic form of a hackathon in which the participants presented their projects, pitching their ideas to "sell" them to the other participants and then forming teams.
After 54 hours of development, refining their business plans and prototyping, the projects were finally presented to the selection committee, which picked the winners.
Aside from ENGIE, the committee included representatives from other investment funds like Iris Capital, AXA, the incubator Agoranov, business angels, prestigious schools, and the entrepreneurship division of the Ecole Polytechnique.

We asked Guillemette Picard for her impressions of a weekend she described as "passionate young people searching for startup ideas. “

Why is ENGIE a partner of this event?

Firstly, the X is one of our partner schools and is one of the schools where we want to be present and share ENGIE’s innovation process.

Also, the event organizer,, is the best in its field when it comes to doing this kind of event. It’s a high-performing organization and startup weekends all over the world.

For this event in particular, there was a majority of students, including forty from the X and the others from other business and design schools. It's an interesting mix for launching a startup, covering the essential skills needed for this kind of project.

Lastly, some great startups have come out of previous editions of the event, such as Easytaxi.

Which projects particularly impressed or interested you?

Some that amused me: a marketplace for tattoos, or a contactless payment system for getting into clubs ...

An attractive and potentially useful project: "MeedPoint". It’s an application based on open data that determines the ideal meeting point for various people.

Another contactless payment project with a humanitarian bent, Betterdays, which uses a box next to the cash register to let customers make donations very simply and quickly.

At the end of the weekend, these were the winning projects:

GlobalHealth: Supported by AXA, this project focuses on medical tourism, and offers to handle the organizational aspects for people traveling for health reasons. It’s impressive in its level of maturity and the team’s professionalism, and it’s in a field that is about to explode.

One by One: water bubbles in capsules could be attractive for both companies and individuals.

Little Big Lab, which provides a set of laboratory measurement tools in a single suitcase. A project that’s both high-tech and low cost.

Be the Sound, my favorite project is also the selection committee’s favorite. It’s a technical and highly ambitious project that lets you stream music on all the devices in your house. With the rise of streaming, this project is definitely in tune with the times.

How is ENGIE interested in some of these projects?

In the area suggested by ENGIE (energy efficiency and smart mobility) there were several suggested projects but none was sufficiently mature.

ENGIE’s current interest in participating in this weekend lies more in building relationships with students and schools, making personal encounters, and of course immersing ourselves in this ecosystem focused on innovation.

What struck me is the quality of these aspiring entrepreneurs, their level of training and their ability to innovate, to think up a solution and to implement it. I think this way of thinking in terms of uses is a new and exciting revival of entrepreneurship.

The teaching methods here is probably one explanation, as is the revolution of usage-focused inventions and the political will to invest in this type of activity from BPI, for example. It’s gradually helping to create a fabric that promotes innovation in France.


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