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Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute

HEC Paris Startup Launchpad 2024: igniting innovation to empower entrepreneurs

As the curtains draw on another successful edition of the HEC Paris Startup Launchpad, it's time to reflect on the whirlwind of entrepreneurial energy, creativity, and innovation that unfolded over the past few weeks. From the thrilling Welcome Day to the climactic Demo Day, the 2024 edition of the Launchpad has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Embarking on the journey

The Startup Launchpad began on Saturday 20th of January with the Welcome Day on campus, where over 140 aspiring entrepreneurs from various programs converged to embark on this transformative experience. This Welcome Day wasn't simply an induction day; it was designed to foster connections and build a strong sense of community and class spirit.

Guillaume le Dieu de Ville, Head of the Startup Launchpad, set the tone with an inspiring speech emphasising innovation and collaboration before giving the mic to Ida co-founders, finalists of the Launchpad Demo Day 2023, who shared insights from their entrepreneurial journey from the Launchpad to now.

The students then engaged in team-building activities, pitching their startup ideas to one another to facilitate connections and familiarise themselves with projects within the 2024 cohort. Finally, they attended their inaugural masterclass led by Launchpad Academic Directors Mathias Abramovicz and Rémi Rivas, gaining essential skills for extensive market research through customer interviews, a key step for refining or adjusting their projects.

 

Startup Launchpad 2024 Welcome Day class picture

 

Navigating the path to success

Throughout the program, participants engaged in masterclasses, coaching and mentorship sessions, meetings with entrepreneurs, and workshops with epxerts, benefiting from the guidance and expertise of the +170 professionals that contribute to the Launchpad ecosystem. They also took part in a serie of pitch sessions, conversing with investors and industry experts, capitalizing on each opportunity to propel their projects forward.

Beyond the academix components of the program, some students formed an Events team to organise talks featuring prominent entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Among them was Paul Midy, who shared insights from his entrepreneurial journey and his current role as a member of parliament. Additionally, Alexandre Prot (H.06), co-founder of Qonto and the sponsor of the cohort, engaged in an intimate talk where he shared his entrepreneurial journey and addressed various topics such as the importance of selecting the right co-founders, founder remuneration, fundraising strategies, and achieving work-life balance. These discussions provided a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for our students, empowering them to kickstart their own successful startups.

 

Setting the stage of entrepreneurial talent: the London LEX & Grand Pitch Night

Our students embarked on an unforgettable journey during the London learning expedition, delving into the UK's dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem while fostering camaraderie within the cohort.

Throughout the week, they participated in enriching panel discussions with industry experts from Morgan Stanley and Techstars. They also attended inspiring entrepreneurs' talks featuring successful HEC Alumni such as Adrien Nussenbaum, Caroline Noublanche, Amélie du Passage, and Aude Debard. Additionally, they honed their skills in workshops focused on storytelling and personality assessment, led by industry leaders Stewart Bewley from Amplify Me and Nikita Mikhailov from Lumina Spark.

The pinnacle of the expedition was the Grand Pitch Night competition, where 6 startups, shortlisted among 28 competitors, pitched their startup projects to a jury comprised of Adrien Cohen (co-founder of Tractable), Gabriele Papievyte (Head of Ventures at XTX Markets), Maryline Kulawik (Managing Partner at Spice Capitale), and Ramzi Rafih (Founder and General Partner at No Label Ventures).

The Jury Award was bestowed upon AmonAI, founded by Léonie Mathian, Alexis Moret, and Naima Tijani, which provides intelligent assistant solutions for construction site managers. Meanwhile, Bluco, founded by Nicolò Magnante and Francisco Shirazi, secured the Audience Award for its AI-enabled chat applications for deskless positions, powered by WhatsApp.

For those who missed the live event, the replay is available on YouTube!

 

Startup Launchpad 2024 London LEX class picture

 

Celebrating innovation, inspiring impact

As the curtains drew to a close, the spotlight shone brightly on the Demo Day, the culmination of 11 weeks of relentless work and unwavering determination.

Organised at Station F with a captive audience of investors, mentors, entrepreneurs, and industry luminaries, 10 teams shortlisted among the 46 of the 2024 cohort made it to the stage and showcased their startup projects:

 

The pitches showcased exceptional quality, with teams passionately sharing their ambitions in front of a demanding jury composed of Alexandre Prot - co-founder of Qonto and sponsor of the Launchpad 2024 cohort, Marguerite Gallant - Executive Director of HEC Alumni, Victoire Mine - VC and Startup Lead at Meta, Louis Bô - Investment Director at Eurazeo, and Pierre Angot - Associate Director of the Incubateur HEC Paris.

After intense deliberations, the Jury Prize was bestowed upon Resilient, for its evaluation of climate risk exposure across value chains, while Eledone, an AI agent streamlining ERP interactions, clinched the Audience Prize. Both teams earned a coveted 4-month incubation at Incubateur HEC Paris and a feature in the HEC Stories magazine.

 

Empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs

Empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs is at the heart of the Launchpad's mission. More than just a program, it is a vibrant community where participants have access to a wealth of expertise and experiences from over 170 professionals, including mentors, experts, coaches, venture capitalists, and successful entrepreneurs. This diverse network guides participants through the crucial initial steps of their projects, offering invaluable support to help them successfully launch their startups.

"Each entrepreneur will go through the same steps, and we provide the ecosystem" explains Guillaume le Dieu de Ville, Head of the Startup Launchpad. "By sharing methodologies and experiences, we can optimize your chances of success and save you valuable time. Regardless of the outcome of your project, the human experience gained will be invaluable. It is this experience that will propel early-bird entrepreneurs in their careers."

As participants navigate their entrepreneurial journey, they not only gain practical skills but also forge meaningful connections and cultivate a mindset of resilience and innovation. It is this spirit of community and growth that truly defines the essence of the Launchpad, inspiring participants to continue pushing boundaries and driving positive changes in the world.

 

Let's keep a close eye on the exciting trajectory of these startups until we come back next January 2025 with a new batch of promising startups!

 

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