@VivaTech 2019 & 2021
The Next Startupper Challenge is where the rubber meets the road, a chance for startuppers to pitch their project in real-world conditions, to test their concept, to make invaluable connections with investors, mentors and peers.
This competition, organized by VivaTech and French Founders, is open to startups affiliated with one of our 50 partner schools and universities, including public as well as private institutions. To be eligible this year, the students, who come from diverse backgrounds and geographies, must be working to develop a project for a sustainable and inclusive world. All finalists will have the opportunity to attend VivaTech, gain valuable exposure, and receive mentoring to help them take their project to the next level. In addition, the 2022 Grand Prize winner will have the opportunity to showcase their project on their own Startup Corner at the next edition of VivaTech.
So what are the real takeaways for students? We put the question to two of last year’s NSC prizewinners.
The 2021 Grand Prize went to Mouhamed Seck, a KEDGE student and entrepreneur. He pitched his Ownlabs project, which enables high schools to offer their students a fun, modern way to conduct science experiments in an augmented-reality lab. Today the Senegal-based startup is called Venturi, and aims, according to the founder, “to democratize education and professional training”, particularly for physics, chemistry and biology.
Photo : Viva Technology Brand Portal
Mouhamed Seck says attending VivaTech and taking part in the Next Startupper Challenge helped him gain visibility for his project, which in turn helped secure funding: “Our participation earned us a publication in one of the biggest newspapers in Senegal, which brought us more legitimacy with local partners.”
The 2021 Jury Prize went to Vocacoach, led by Eva Le Gal-Ostrzega, Yannis Tevissen, Carla Turc and Paul Huguet, young graduates of Télécom SudParis. VocaCoach is an AI-based speech-training application that has been deployed in higher-education establishments to help students prepare for oral exams and job interviews. Vocacoach Co-Founder Paul Huguet says VivaTech presented “a great opportunity to pitch the project in front of pros.” And he has some advice for startuppers pitching at this year’s competition: “Don't stress! I've seen people break down on the day [of the pitch contest] and it's a pity. I felt a kind of double pressure, because I knew if I didn't succeed, it meant that [my] product didn't work!“