Betting on Awesomeness
A scientific and technical lab
Syroco is a scientific and technical lab that generates innovation through pioneering achievements. We want to demonstrate that a pioneering spirit, risk-taking approach, and excellence in commitment make it possible to accomplish goals that seem beyond our reach. Our ambition is to boost innovation and generate technical resources that support the growth of the transportation and energy industries by enabling them to both meet environmental challenges and improve their performance.
The convergence of technological and entrepreneurial ambition
Syroco was born from the convergence of technological and entrepreneurial ambition. In October 2010, Rob Douglas, Sébastien Cattelan and I campaigned in Namibia to set a new sailing speed record - a record that each of us had already held in the late 2000s. During this campaign, we were competing hard with each other, increasing the pressure and lowering the times. The challenge was enormous, and the margin for progress was very reduced: it was in the order of 1/10th of a knot. By nature, records are made to be broken, and obviously, that’s what happened in the following years. So to regain the upper hand, we created a speed channel near Marseille in 2012, with the ambition of setting an absolute speed record in France. And just then, a dramatic turn of events took place: Sailrocket 2 shattered the record by reaching 65 knots in November 2012 - 10 more knots than the previous record.
This episode shut down the supremacy of kitesurfing in this area, as the technical and physical constraints were already leading us to the limits of our possibilities. Beating the record was no longer a sporting challenge: it had become a technological one.
A startup business model
So we had to rethink our whole approach by inventing a business model able to support this ambition. Thanks to their entrepreneurial experience, my partners, Bertrand Diard, Florent Boutellier and Yves de Montcheuil, were able to lay the groundwork for a pragmatic vision. They framed the project in such a way that it allowed generating impact beyond the sporting aspect, by devising the means to capitalize on the innovation produced by such pioneering feats. Olivier Taillard joined us to bring his technical experience to the table.
Because indeed, if we confine ourselves to the sporting dimension, we move forward, set a new record, and go home. By situating the project within an entrepreneurial dynamic rather than a sporting one, Syroco offers leverage allowing us to transfer the results of our research into the economic sphere through the generation of technical instruments and intellectual property, and thus gain access to a larger pool of partners who can take advantage of the technological advances that arise from our work.
So we structured Syroco as a startup: a bold investment aimed at a paradigm shift. Thanks to this organization, we can make adventurous bets, and take risks that companies based on less flexible models, or focused on short-term profitability cannot afford to take. It gives us the freedom to try - and succeed - in accomplishing the impossible.
Syroco's purpose is to achieve pioneering feats. For us, anything is possible. And we're going to prove it.
Alex Caizergues, co-founder & CEO of Syroco