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31 January 2018

MonacoTech places Principality at heart of innovation

With the official opening of its first start-up incubator/accelerator in November last year, Monaco, more than ever, has confirmed its status as a base for innovation and is encouraging further economic growth. Here, we focus on the launch of MonacoTech, its initial efforts in support of the political determination of the Prince’s Government in this area, and the 15 businesses selected to realise it.

The idea for the MonacoTech programme was born as a result of a review carried out by the Government starting in late 2015 and aimed at shaping the Monegasque economy of the future. As part of that review, it was decided to set up an organization able to support innovative projects. Its stated goals were to diversify economic activity in the country and promote job creation.

To find out more about the origins of the project, read our previous article on the subject by clicking here. 

Around two years later, the idea was implemented by the State in partnership with Monaco Telecom and Xavier Niel. Premises with 820 square metres of open-plan space, including a co-working area and laboratories, was ready to welcome companies operating in the new technologies sector to support them during start-up, development, securing a long-term future and integration with the local economy. A full range of measures to provide support, advice, monitoring and funding was put in place thanks to the involvement of a specialist network (mentors, coaches, investors, institutional partners and early adopters). 

MonacoTech was officially opened on 8 November by H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince, Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy, and Xavier Niel. “This initiative from the Government is part of the change we need to introduce to transform the Principality’s economy over the years to come,” Mr Castellini said at the opening.

H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and Xavier Niel at the MonacoTech official launch on 8 November.
© Government Communication Department / Charly Gallo

 The 15 ambassadors of Monegasque innovation

The economic transformation described by the Minister has been initiated by 15 start-ups already installed in the MonacoTech offices (which are located in Fontvieille). As candidates, they underwent two selection rounds (on 10 July and 18 September) in which they were assessed by two panels made up of professionals and entrepreneurs.

The first panel1 selected five projects out of a total of 67 which were presented:

  • CIEL, which sells and rents out airship drones for surveillance, inspection, civil and public safety, communication, information and entertainment;
  • Hyve, a mobile app for buying, exchanging and reselling event tickets, and for organising events;
  • KeeSystem, an innovative, tailor-made solution which simplifies wealth management;
  • TerraioT, which involves creating comprehensive IoT solutions for smart cities (transport, car parks, security, business intelligence, etc.);
  • YouStock, which provides an application through which users can order storage boxes of all sizes, tidy away items they are not using, and store them in a secure location for a fixed period.

The 2nd panel2 selected 10 out of 105 projects:

  • Novetech Surgery, which supplies veterinarians with a range of medical implants and equipment for orthopaedic surgery;
  • Lanéva, which designs, builds and sells elegant, fully electric and connected boats;
  • Phyg, a smart surgical device (designed by surgeons);
  • Surgisafe, which designs, develops and sells Tamanoir, a smart, low-cost medical device;
  • Coraliotech, which produces, develops and promotes active substances from the marine world, particularly from corals (working closely with the Monaco Scientific Centre);
  • Gangz, the leading digital booking agency for models, hostesses and extras (innovative platform with powerful search engine, smart instant messaging, 3D body analysis, electronic signature for contracts, and talent locator);
  • Nanotek Materials, which develops eco-friendly solutions in the construction sector;
  • Linkyourleasure, an app for sharing photos on social media;
  • Teale, which provides a range of cross-cutting services to help commercial and industrial building owners and operators to save money on energy bills and move towards sustainability;
  • Yachtneeds, the leading digital ecosystem for the superyacht industry (app + website) which enables users to chat live and to apply for jobs around the world.

A place for reflection and promoting Monegasque innovation

MonacoTech is also a place for sharing and discussion, as evidenced by two events which have been hosted there since it was launched:

  • On 15 December, a breakfast lecture organised by the Junior Chamber International Monaco gave participants an opportunity to learn more about the selected start-ups. Guest Jean Castellini stressed that “MonacoTech is a space ideally located in Fontvieille, an exemplary model of cooperation between the Government and Monaco Telecom, where young Monegasque national Fabrice Marquet [Director of MonacoTech] proactively manages both the premises and the 15 projects hosted there. This innovative facility is a fantastic communications vehicle for the Principality.”
  • A month earlier, on 17 November, MonacoTech hosted the Monaco Matin Eco Club in the presence of the Minister of Finance and Economy. The theme of the meeting was: “What innovation is emerging from the Principality?”

MonacoTech website: www.monacotech.mc

Mr Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy, during his speech on 15 December at the breakfast lecture organised by the Junior Chamber International Monaco on: “Pitch Time: Discover MonacoTech’s Start-Ups!”
© Charly Gallo / Government Communication Department

Monaco Matin Eco Club held on 17 November at the MonacoTech offices.
© Nice-Matin / Jean-François Ottonello

1: François-Xavier Leclerc, Head of the Financing and Economic Development Division at the Business Development Agency; Uwe Diegel, CEO, LifeInA, Venture Capitalist; Antoine Grimaud, Co-Founder and CEO of PayPlug; Nicolas Brunel, Director of Investment at LVMH; André Saint-Mleux, Business Angel and Director at RMC and Monaco Telecom; Frédéric Genta, Industry Head Retail, Google France; Thierry Crovetto, member of the National Council; Pierre Joly, CEO, Ermeo.

2: Nicolas Brunel, Director of Investment at LVMH; Pierre-Emmanuel Saint-Esprit, Founder and CEO, @HelloZack; Caroline Goulard, CEO and Co-Founder, Dataveyes; François-Xavier Leclerc, Head of the Financing and Economic Development Division at the Business Development Agency; André Saint-Mleux, Business Angel and Director at RMC and Monaco Telecom; Natacha Quester-Séméon, CEO and Co-Founder, youARhere; Frédéric Genta, Industry Head Retail, Google France; Thierry Crovetto, member of the National Council.

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