BeFC's highlights at Viva Technology 2022

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October 2022
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Throwback to VivaTech: BeFC is winning at the biggest European Startup and Tech Event

Every year, Paris gathers thousands of people for the biggest European meeting of technology & startups: VivaTech. BeFC had the opportunity to be showcasing their technology with a stand at the center of VivaTech and pitch the organic biofuel cells in its two last editions. The quality of exchanges, the emergence of new technologies and the promises of impactful entrepreneurship in VivaTech2022 are all reasons for which the event’s powerful echo still resonates today.

In the last two years, BeFC has achieved some important milestones at this global event- the latest being meeting French President Emmanuel Macron! - and we decided to reminisce this incredible day, today, by sharing our achievements, experience and learnings from Viva Tech.

VivaTech is a world apart

The VivaTech summit has been celebrating innovation and technology since 2016, and has earned worldwide recognition for being Europe’s first startup and tech event. VivaTech reunites the world’s greatest business leaders, most successful investors, outstanding startups and finest researchers. BeFC was interested by its large scale and high caliber: VivaTech constitutes a golden opportunity to meet international new prospects and investors. The event is also an invitation to exchange with like-minded people: talented individuals who are at the top of their field and who put all their resources and energy into building the world of tomorrow. A world where ecological transition creates energy for all while protecting natural resources, a world where development is inclusive, a world where the driving force is impact.

VivaTech brings together the world’s leading researchers in fields such as digital health, smart cities, cybersecurity or cloud development. VivaTech is truly an incredible rendezvous where different ecosystems meet: business CEOs, government representatives, international organisations directors, eminent scientists, banks, artists, accelerators…and of course disruptive startups like BeFC.

Over the years, the six editions of VivaTech have brought together some real business geniuses, such as the CEOs of Microsoft, Uber, IBM, Cisco Systems, Service Now…all champions of innovation and technology, and all behind a specific goal: knowledge transfer for the promotion of innovative new companies.

VivaTech indeed has a great ambition and holds a very specific program for startups, the “European Acceleration Summit”. This customised program constitutes a real gas pedal for startups. It brings together the incredible knowledge nuggets emerging from the high-level international presence, combined with a structure explicitly designed to quickly and efficiently dot all Is by making accelerators, investors and startups collaborate. Foreign actors interested in actively engaging with Europe’s digital leaders come from all over the world to VivaTech.

Our VivaVengers at VivaTech 2022 (Spoiler alert, BeFC met the President!)

At its sixth edition, VivaTech 2022 has outdone itself. Emmanuel Macron, French Republic President, Audrey Azouley, UNESCO General Director, Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner at the European Commission came and spoke at the event. The spotlight was also on Cryptocurrency as Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Founder and Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance gave lectures and shared their insights on the future of money. The CEOs of Linkedin, Snap Inc, Renaud, L’Oreal, LVMH, as well as high representatives of Apple and Avast… were also there to guide us and explain how they’ve been boosting their offers with the help of data-driven management, deeptech and AI. The topics were driven by the concept of scaling up, to provide startups with the necessary resources and knowledge to create and sustain high growth and profitability.

In June 2022, BeFC reached a new milestone at VivaTech: getting a word of encouragement and admiration from the French President Emmanuel Macron “c’est incroyable!”. Indeed, when most participants gave handshakes and took selfies with the President, our team decided to offer him a sample of our biofuel cells and explain the technology behind it. When he heard that our organic minibattery succeeds in creating electricity from paper and enzymes, he was impressed. The French President said “This is incredible!” and asked in which city the biofuel cells were made. Emmanuel Macron’s mandate has been continuously marked by his engagement in the development of technology startups: he’s been taking this subject very seriously. The President is present in many Tech Events and particularly did a lot for the French Tech – a unique ecosystem dedicated to French technological sovereignty, by making France one of the most attractive countries for startups. The head of state has introduced notable measures of several kinds to facilitate the digital revolution, such as fiscal decrees or the national strategy for AI. He even went as far as sharing his personal email so that startup leaders can send him ideas! For BeFC, getting noticed by perhaps the most influential actor of the country is certainly a diary date. This praise is lifting us up to continue working on our agenda to make the biofuel cell accessible to the whole world by 2025.

At VivaTech 2022, our team of VivaVengers also realised several other benefits and insights. BeFC’s team was composed of Dr. Bilal Demir, Chemical and Polymer Engineer, Lucas Cajé de Souza, Electronic Engineer, Nathan Le Flao, Business Developer, and Antoinette Sandy Sodjo, Print Engineer, and participated to the four consecutive days of talks, pitches and meetings. The biofuel cells were strategically exposed in our booth at KPMG France and La French Tech section, revealing how our ecological miniature batteries’ implementation fits into the energetic transition calling of this decade.

Since its inception, BeFC has attracted the attention of multiple political leaders and the support of key decision-makers. This enthusiasm for our ecofriendly miniature paper battery also manifested at VivaTech. In fact, Nathan and Lucas presented our biofuel cells to Agnes Pannier Runacher, the French Minister of Energetic Transition, Sandy shook hands with Bruno Lemaire, the French Minister of Economy, Finance, Industrial and Digital Sovereignty and Clara Chappaz, President of La French Tech, when awarded the label French Tech Green20 (second time around for BeFC) and Bilal exchanged with Othman Nasrou, the Vice-President of the Île-de-France region. They were all curious about the BeFC, expressed their admiration for its technology and encouraged us to keep moving forward. BeFC is happy to see the interest of these institutional actors. Indeed, governmental representatives of France and the U.S. have been supporting us in different ways, such as regularly inviting BeFC to receptions, sharing their network with us and encouraging our missions abroad. At Vivatech 2022, our team succeeded in getting the biofuel cells on the radar of the French President, two Ministers and a region Vice-President.

BeFC’s team enjoyed supercharged business mentoring, real world exposition of experts addressing pressing topic and opportunities for international networking. Our experts reported a deeper understanding of the ecosystems and noted that multiple French organisations have also been present at VivaTech for consecutive years. They noticed that several large groups desire to build partnerships and showcase their social and environmental responsibility measures. These corporate commitments take not only the form of structural changes, facilitated by digital, but also investment funds like French IoT, the incubator of La Poste. Our team spoke with several emerging research and development platforms and connected with representatives of startup support ventures: indeed, BeFC made more than 170 contacts during the four days!

We were able to showcase the biofuel cells to private sectors’ representatives, forming connections and prospecting customers. Lucas presented the organic miniature battery to several corporate delegations, including Le Clerc, EDF, L'Oréal. He and Nathan pitched our sustainable solutions to the Veolia delegation who showed a lot of interest in the BeFC. Sandy also reported having a long discussion with the Colas group and gathering important contacts. The Bouygues delegation wished to know more about our ecologic solution and Nathan explained how we succeeded in turning biodegradable materials to electricity, forever changing the world the miniature batteries. Nathan and Bilal also reinforced our links with the Asian continent. They answered the questions of the Japan External Trade Organization delegation concerning the BeFC and its development to Japan. Indeed, our organic biofuel cells will very soon be available in the Asiatic country, and when the delegation understood the potential of BeFC to change entire industries, they insisted on keeping in touch to discuss partnerships.  

Our VivaVengers also noted the interest of banks and accelerators: Sandy pitched the biofuel cells to The Village, an incubator from the Credit Agricole Bank which supports innovative projects with high potential, Lucas introduced la Société Générale bank to the BeFC and Bilal pitched our project to Zebox, an incubator who offers personalized support to pioneering companies. BeFC made connections in the media field as well as reinforced its links with research and scientists. Sandy responded to Euro News’s queries about the miniature batteries and discussed future coverage, while the delegation of the spearheading CNRS exchanged with Bilal. Its President and Director, Antoine Petit, wanted a detailed report of BeFC’s evolution.

BeFC is a French Tech Green20

Apart from this, BeFC’s VivaVengers also briefed us on ways that VivaTech is putting forward digitalisation to create a more engaging experience. Online platforms, virtual showrooms were made accessible to complement the face-to-face format on the one hand, and on the other, the responsible approach used in the very design of the event is something we reflected on and learned from. VivaTech hired multiple ecological startups to perform collaborative and educational carbon assessments and reforestation plans. We also share this desire for congruence with our message and to walk the green talk within our premises. BeFC is currently experiencing a strong growth and the founders are spending a lot of time selecting the right people and talents to join the team. As we continue to grow, we are prioritising the sharing of educational information and general best practices as well as responsibility measures within our teams, leveraging digitalisation in the service of our CSR. These actions go a long way to establish a culture that we hope will change our communities way further than at the company-level. The measures can be very simple to implement, but require a willingness for everyone to show up, and start with kind reminders in virtual meetings to recycle what is printed or taking public transport…

BeFC won the Pitch Studio Contest at VivaTech 2021

Last year, BeFC also participated in the flagship event VivaTech2021. These days were not without thrills and spills! Indeed, BeFC participated in the Pitch Studio, a competition in which the best startups from around the world took part in VivaTech. And our biofuel cells…won the first place! The contest aimed to uncover, recognise and connect the future-shapers of the world during a tight competition.

Dr. Marie Berthuel, our Senior Scientist, Product/Communication manager took the stage to present our organic miniature batteries and helped BeFC win the first place of the 3 min pitch contest, in the Environment category. Marie was accompanied by Dr. Marius Cesbron, Electrochemist who also represented BeFC. The panel of jury, interested in the possible use-cases and target markets, awarded BeFC as a sustainable power source and an enabler of eco-friendly solutions for the future. The Pitch Studio also allowed startups to connect with regional and global stakeholders amongst the finalists, partners, investors present as well as the jury board.  

In the post pandemic context, the fifth edition of VivaTech demonstrated the role of technology in the economic relaunch, in the fight against climat change and the question of inclusion in the start-up universe. VivaTech definitely won the bet of delivering its share of innovation and inspiration, and BeFC was presenting our biofuel cells alongside SolarStratos, the first solar plane to conquer the stratosphere, and next to incredible discoveries in augmented reality such as a holographic portal capable of the live retransmission of any holographic video!

VivaTech2021 focused on central themes: technology at the service of the planet and society, “Tech to Watch”: a presentation of the latest inventions and their impact in health, cybersecurity; robotic, spatial exploration, art & culture; scaling up to accelerate the emergence of new champions and the future of work through digital transformation. BeFC’s team was especially interested in the networking opportunities provided by the various accelerators and spent the time to learn, gather information and contacts to create a bank of resources for our growth.

For BeFC and for the world, VivaTech is a catalyst for progress and an event that cannot be missed. In just 4 days, visionaries from all over the world meet, forge valuable links, share and explore opportunities. BeFC has already won so much thanks to VivaTech…from making an impression on the French President, participating and winning the startup Pitch Contest, building and nurturing valuable relationships, to having the chance to benefit from the teaching sessions of the world’s best business minds. We are truly grateful to VivaTech for allowing us to attend this value-packed tech retreat and showcase our biofuel cells. Together, we will power the future with nature!

Contact us at info@befc.fr to discuss how BeFC paper biofuel cells can provide a sustainable battery replacement for a range of low-power electronic applications.

Together, power the future with nature. ©

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