Innovation is a process, not an event

Companies usually innovate in order to solve problems. For Syroco, on the other hand, innovation is the goal, and not merely a means to an end. By aiming to achieve pioneering accomplishments, we set the stage for generating extraordinary ideas. In this confrontation with the laws of physics, we have laid essential foundations. Our structure as a start-up supports the freedom in our vision and the agility in our actions. We assembled a team of top-tier engineers, athletes, and entrepreneurs. And we built partnerships with strong and visionary organisations to move forward.

When it comes to innovation, our imagination tends to be fuelled by characters like eccentric inventor Doc Brown in Back to the Future, or super creative engineer Q, the agent who provides James Bond with gadgets. At Syroco, the whole team drives innovation: they imagine impossible things and invent ways to do them. Because as a matter of fact, shaping innovation out of theoretical possibilities into a concrete application is all about teamwork.

Indeed, innovating is not merely about having an idea that solves a problem. Innovating is about doing all the work that leads from a concept to its real-life, reproducible, and profitable utilisation. And the production chain of innovation is intricate. From ideation to industrial deployment, it is a process that requires meticulous execution, not only in terms of technology but also in terms of documentation and financing. Those aspects require, in turn, the generation of numerous administrative, legal, and technical tools to be exploitable.

Detecting innovation

It is essential first to know how to detect innovation when it appears. It might happen during an exchange of ideas, through the results of a simulation calculation, or during a live test. It is common for an innovative idea to arise from a previously unnoticed perspective and reappear later when taking a new approach. That's why at Syroco, we listen to everyone in the team and avoid setting arbitrary boundaries during the innovation design phase. To restrict the design field is to fight a losing battle. All avenues of thought must be open to consideration, even the most seemingly improbable ones. Especially those.

Sometimes, the solution lies right in front of us, but it’s still a long way to get there. It is often the case in the field of tech innovation: the resources needed to set up tests are scarce. Collecting and managing data, creating digital models, prototypes, orchestrating all these processes requires significant time and money investments. While we envision a system, we are still far from being able to use it.  

Financing innovation

In France and, more generally, in Europe, we are fortunate to benefit from an environment that fosters fundamental and applied research. Substantial funds and numerous means of support are made available to institutions and companies that want to drive real progress. From the CIR/CII (research/innovation tax credit), which allows research expenses to be tax-deductible, to subsidies offered at various levels (regional, national, European), a host of measures exists to stimulate innovation.

The amount of financial engineering required for a company to qualify for these incentives should not be underestimated. The applications, which will be examined by panels of experts, must accurately document an objective. But the ways and means to achieve it have sometimes not even been imagined yet! And since Syroco is a start-up, this effort of financial engineering is also useful in fundraising. The Series A capital raising that we are currently preparing benefits from all the work we have done connected with support requests.

Monetising innovation

And when we finally find a solution, several legal issues regarding the protection of innovation come into play. Protecting discoveries is essential to being able to exploit them. We must structure the rights on the work done by our service providers in the context of our vision. And while protecting Syroco's intellectual property, we must ensure that our partners and our customers can exploit our discoveries.

A patent protects innovation, but to make the most of it, we must still be able to sell the rights to exploit it without losing any of the rights related to it. The creation and management of licenses for the exploitation of innovation is a core business at Syroco.

All in all, innovation is far from being the wild adventure of a crazy scientist in a garage. It does exist, but it isn't commonplace. The characters who have followed this path may capture our imagination, but they make us forget the tremendous amount of work required to bring a new idea, however great it may be, to market.

Florent Boutellier, co-founder & COO, Syroco