Just between us: Exotrail to serve as the sponsor of 2023 SPRING 50

One of the most promising New Space startups in France, Exotrail will leverage its six years of experience at Paris-Saclay to serve as the sponsor of 2023 SPRING 50, the annual selection of the most innovative and promising startups from the Paris-Saclay ecosystem. Created in 2017, Exotrail is a product of the Paris-Saclay ecosystem’s rich collaborative environment and a former participant in SPRING 50. We sat down with its CEO and Co-Founder, Jean-Luc Maria, to talk about his startup’s connection to SPRING 50 and his advice for startups eager to become part of the selection.

Deep roots at Paris-Saclay

Born in Paris-Saclay, Exotrail grew out of a research team between the CNRS, University of Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Ecole polytechnique and Synchrotron Soleil. Receiving support from SATT Paris-Saclay, the startup is now based in Massy, where it is currently building a production site for engines and satellites. Though the DeepTech company has expanded to Toulouse and soon to the United States, it remains firmly rooted in the Paris-Saclay ecosystem.

The flourishing energy of SPRING

Convinced that the wide range of disciplines present at Paris-Saclay is one of its biggest strengths, Exotrail is eager to see all the dynamism of the ecosystem’s startups on display at SPRING 2023. “I can’t wait to see the energy that each startup puts into their project pitch and preparation for each step in its development”, says Jean-Luc Maria. Given the recent slowdown in funding available across the tech sector, SPRING 50 also offers a tremendous opportunity for emerging companies.

Paris-Saclay’s key asset for startup is the tremendous variety of sectors, projects, players and businesses represented within the ecosystem, not to mention the massive potential for innovation!

Jean-Luc Maria,  CEO and Co-Founder of Exotrail

A spotlight on talented teams

Most startups competing for the SPRING 50 selection are in the same situation: they may have an initial idea or proof of concept, but no product to show yet. “It’s essential to show that your team has the conviction and skills necessary to take your project to the next level, ideally a first product”, recommends Jean-Luc Maria. A concrete plan for growing your team is another important tool for demonstrating that your project will be ready to take the next step forward.

The critical role of communication

Startups should also remember to pay close attention to how they communicate the technology behind their projects, especially since these are always complex topics. “Most financial backers do not come from a technical background, so you have to make an effort to educate them in layman’s terms while presenting your project”, specifies Jean-Luc Maria. For this reason, DeepTech startups should not overlook the financial and marketing aspect when assembling their teams.

A unique springboard for startups

In the earliest development stages, any event that allows a startup to illustrate the potential of its project is a major opportunity. Thanks to the domestic and international spotlight enjoyed by Paris-Saclay, SPRING and the SPRING 50 selection offer a valuable chance for startups to stand out and secure new contracts. “We hope that SPRING 50 will become an even more widely respected label, both in France and internationally, so it will continue to facilitate contacts between startups and investors”, concludes Jean-Luc Maria.

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Jérémy Hervé
Head of Innovation & Economic Development

Speaks : French, English, Japanese and Spanish

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