I cover UHNWIs, celebrities, luxury travel, technology, and lifestyle.
MonacoTech, the incubator and accelerator startup program cofounded by billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel, Monaco Telecom and the Monaco government, took flight in November 2017.
Its 800-square-meter coworking space (complete with ping-pong table) in Fontvieille known as “Zone F” has been home to 24 startups—selected from 230 applicants from 30 countries representing sectors such as cleantech, fintech, smart city and yachting—which have created 28 jobs in the Principality.
“There is no such thing as launching a business of your own, it’s a collaborative effort,” says Director Fabrice Marquet, a Monegasque and former Research Scientist at Columbia University who contributed to the launch
of two established businesses in the field of medical device.
Here are the Top 10 Innovators in order of start date.
Founder: Pierre-Alexandre Rousselot
Hires in Monaco: 16
Start date: 2009
Funds raised: $350,000
DESIGNED BY PRIVATE BANKERS, KeeSystem is a fintech company that helps independent asset managers and Family Offices develop their activities. Its solution, KeeSense, lightens the complexity of the financial and legal environment by enabling wealth management firms to connect to the players of private management—custodian banks, regulatory authorities, auditors, and of course, their clients—via
an innovative communications platform. Wealth managementfirms are interconnected with their upstream custodian banks and push the consolidated data to their clients, while client data is collected and reported to regulatory authorities. No data lost, all is valued.
The digitalization and automation of some low value- added wealth management tasks, such as compliance controls, brings considerable time and costs savings. However, beyond technological innovation, KeeSystem integrates an economic dimension to its innovation. By being able to interconnect with over 120 custodian banks, KeeSense ensures its clients can manage their assets, regardless of the custodian concerned. It eliminates the risk of loss of clients’ portfolios when merging with another management firm or hiring a former private banker, two of the preferred growth strategies for asset management companies. At the same time, KeeSense enables new clients tobe integrated, making it easier for asset management firms to acquire new clients and generate additional revenue streams quickly.
Based in Monaco, KeeSystem is part of the MonacoTech acceleration program.
3-year vision: We aim to double our client base, and to achieve our goal of +100% annual revenue. Our goal is also to strengthen our position in Switzerland and Luxembourg. On the innovation side, we want to integrate BI, AI and blockchain to our solutions.
What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained?We are a problem- solving company that addresses the specific issues faced by our Family Office clients. For example, we’ve developed a wireframe that allows the platform to import positions and transactions from private banks, and from any kind of investment class, from anywhere in the world. We have links with more than 120 custodians from all major financial locations in Europe, Asia, America, and the Middle East.
Our workplace innovation platform provides a global solution for independent asset managers and Family Offices and allows us to be agile and flexible, at an adjusted cost.
Founders: Alexis Bouresche, Jacopo Marzocco
Hires in Monaco: 18
Start date: February 2015
Funds raised: €740,000
YOUSTOCK HAS REVOLUTIONIZED the storage industry as a whole by adding new on-demand services and improving customer experience. Unlike traditional self-storage businesses that simply provide a fixed space to store goods that clients have to pack, transport, and unload themselves, YouStock provides services that allow clients to store items without moving from their home.
Through YouStock’s website, users can have their items picked up, packed up and catalogued on their online inventory before being delivered to storage within a day of booking.
YouStock only charge per cubic meter, meaning clients only pay for the real volume they store, whereas at self-storage centers the client is charged for a fixed rate even if the entire space available isn’t used.
3-year vision: To become the Pan-European leading physical storage all-in services company targeting an MRR growth of 500% over the next 3 years with an expected annual revenue of €7 million.
What is the biggest risk to the company? Rapid growth. Because the business model is structurally different from any other storage providers, the company offers a very attractive, premium quality service and it is developing aggressively. From eight employees only six months ago, YouStock currently employs 18 people full- time.
Founders: Idriss Sisaïd, Enrique Garcia Bourne, Maxime Cousin
Nationality: French-Moroccan, French-Spanish, French
Hires in Monaco: 1
Start date: October 2016
Funds raised: €30,000 investment from founders, currently raising €800,000
Turnover: €0 (pre-revenue)
JOINING MONACOTECH in June 2018, O’Sol champions innovation and technology as a means to tackle societal issues and inspire the community. The first product line consists of smart solar generators to power small and medium devices, which charge through their solar panels or through regular grid power. They are ideal for outdoor activities, thanks to their simplicity, adaptability and design.
3-year vision: In three years, the first two versions of solar generators will be launched to capture a significant share of the energy mobility market, with an expected revenue in excess of €3 million.
What is the biggest risk to the company? While we will invest in R&D to remain ahead of our competitors, and protect technology through patents, our key target market is located in the U.S. As such, the current political and economic landscape poses a risk, as we may have to change our strategy to export to the U.S. In addition, the differing and evolving regulatory environments, both in the U.S., the EU and Monaco, may pose challenges based on their evolution and their impact on our target markets.
Founders: Marie Michaud & Anne Davené
Hires in Monaco: 0
Start date: August 2016
Funds raised: €115,000
Turnover: €160,000 (6 months’ activity 2018)
GANGZ IS THE FIRST digital agency for event staff; in a few clicks a producer, a brand or an event agency can book hundreds of extras, models, hostesses, and comedians through a fully automated process (location-based search, similar profiles suggestion algorithm, real- time availability, electronic signature of contracts...) on the Gangz.io website. A unique marketplace enables GANGZ to be extremely competitive on high-value markets.
Web marketing expertise allows aggressive recruiting and the creation of a large database. A proven and improved business model generates 25% to 42% gross margin. Six months after launching the online booking site, prestigious customers include: L’Oreal, Endemolshine, Société des Bains de Mer, Longines Master, French Army, Fairmont Monte-Carlo, Oetker Group, Darty...
3-year vision: GANGZ is the first digital agency for event staff. In 2021 we expect strong growth with a revenue over €8 million. To support this growth, we are planning to raise €1 million in the first quarter of 2019.
What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained? Diversity is key, and
we have developed customized sourcing via giant castings and social media advertising. Research and selection of talents are targeted with the use of criteria such as gender, age, looks, geolocation, languages spoken and much more.
Online talent profiles, including notes and comments, make customer validation easy. GANGZ manages all social declarations such as contracts and pay slips so that our customers do not have to worry about anything.
Our selection of talents is unique and qualitative; we will enforce e-training and skills building. Other innovative projects include, though the development of a mobile application, a digital personal assistant for talent.
Founders: Dr. Thierry Desjardins, Nicolas Veau
Hires in Monaco: 0 (10 planned for 2019)
Start date: November 2017
Funds raised: $9 million (January 2019)
SURGISAFE DESIGNS, develops and sells Tamanoir, the smart sensor—a ground breaking surgical and medical device that provides real- time, in vivo answers in critical situations—which targets cancer and abnormal tissue detection.
The device is easy to use and fits every kind of non-invasive surgical approach, bringing the sensor to the patient and not the patient to the sensor. It improves medical and surgical results, reducing morbidity and mortality, as well as improving quality of life.
The cannula is a cost-effective and entirely disposable device designed to give practitioners immediate, precise and conclusive information.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide although 75% of cancer patients with tumors do not have access to safe and required procedures. Tamanoir can greatly improve surgical results in these cases.
The device can also be used for endometriosis, and secondary targets are biological fluid leakage detection, and premature rupture of membranes leading to a greater risk of complications.
3-year vision: Clinical trials in 2019/2020: approval process and go to market preparation in parallel with commercial sales of Tamanoir devices for breast and skin cancer. In 2020/2021, focus on R&D on other pathologies to expand product range and sales network into new countries with 820,000 units sold (end of 2021).
What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained? None of Tamanoir’s competitors combine autonomy and versatility for such a real-time, non-invasive, cost-effective disposable device. And there is no reliable sensor on the market yet for biological fluid leakage detection or to prevent critical anatomical structures, like nerve damage.
Tamanoir’s sustainable competitive advantage is based on providing superior value in three key areas: value with a real product differentiation (performances, reliability, innovation) and a strong R&D department to respond to the needs of practitioners, patients and healthcare systems; a focus to provide comprehensive care including diagnostic, follow-up and therapeutic treatments for serious medical conditions; and finally, a cost effective and easy to use product for a global market that does not always have access to advanced medical equipment.
Founders: Pascal Ferrucci, Jeremy Scatigna
Hires in Monaco: 0
Start date: October 2017
Funds raised: 0 (seeking $100,000)
A 100% EVENT-DRIVEN social network will allow organizers to efficiently sell events correlated with the audience’s interests, through an intuitive, secure and self-learning platform. With Hyve, users can not only easily find out about an event, buy, sell and offer tickets but also book carpooling, accommodation and even babysitting.
3-year vision: Hyve is a decentralized system for the ticketing industry based on artificial intelligence which aims to change the way events are promoted and consumed. An annual revenue of €100,000 is expected for the next three years, and partnerships formed with Fnac, Secutix, Rodrigue and other big ticketing companies in order to propose a full visibility on events in Monaco, France and Europe.
Is the company pre-revenue? Does it have early customer validation—does it show product market fit? A Proof-of-Concept was run on three events from three different clients: a Yacht show, a restaurant, and a professional conference organizer. It was found that significantly more customers were interested in the product than had been anticipated (+105,000 event organizers in France). Other potential clients include a festival organizer, a doctor giving conferences, a private school in Monaco, a plastics company that envisages organizing private tradeshows, several sports club as well as local authorities such as the city council.
With such positive results from the POC, the next step is to produce a workable and scalable product to launch the commercialization.
Founders: Maud Danchin, Victor Robalo
Employees: 1, 2 Co-CEO, 2 trainees
Hires in Monaco: 1
Start date: March 2017
Funds raised: N/A
THE MONACO-BASED NOVETECH SURGERY provides veterinarians with a range of orthopedic implants, instruments and equipment for ligament and tendon repair, as well as solutions for bone surgery.
The company has decades of experience working with veterinary surgeons in order to develop new solutions
that will reshape orthopedic procedures of the future, based on the highest standards of human medicine. Their advanced technologies are minimally invasive for reducing the animal’s pain, trauma or recovery time.The greatest innovation of the year was based on the development of synthetic tendons and ligaments for the small animals.
3-year vision: Novetech Surgery is positioning itself as an international leader in ligamentoplasty veterinary surgery on small animals through innovation, quality training, and strong scientific results.
What is the biggest risk to the company? The company had to adapt to the specificity of the veterinary field
in terms of the animal’s anatomy, treatments and postoperative care, as well as to the specificity of the business model that requires learning and development to validate the market fit.
Founders: Julien Sivan, Céline Braems
Hires in Monaco: 0
Start date: January 2017
Funds raised: $300,000
SKYDEALS STRIVES TO PROVIDE PASSENGERS with the best deals and entertaining shopping experience during their flight time.
Their unique offer involves the development of a marketplace that allows brands and destination services to promote targeted deals and last- minute offers to all connected passengers while in the air.
For example, a cosmetic brand can be promoted instantly at a discount to every passenger traveling in Business Class from Beijing to Paris or a kite surf teacher based in Punta Cana can send an immediate discount to any traveler under-50 landing at Punta Cana in the next 48 hours.
SKYdeals can also be a great source of shoppertainment during flight time, including “fly over offers” appearing when flying over a specific country or zone, limited-time “flash sales” and “auction sales” that at close end of the flight.
3-year vision: As the first Inflight ShoppertainmentTM provider, SKYdeals aims to become the leader of e-commerce for travelers, reinventing travel retail thanks to inflight connectivity.
Is the company pre-revenue? Does it have early customer validation? Early 2018, SKYdeals was first deployed with French Bee airlines with positive results which helped to validate and improve the product. SKYdeals has signed with 4 major airlines (Air France and Hop) starting January 2019 and will also be available on domestic lines flying to Nice.
Founder: Dr. Rachid Benchaouir, PhD
Hires in Monaco: 1
Start date: September 2018
Funds raised: €150,000
Turnover: €0 (2018)
A MONEGASQUE B2B MARINE BIOTECH startup ensuring the preservation of natural ecosystems through the use of clean and sustainable technology. Coraliotech is associated with the Scientific Center of Monaco (CSM).
3-year vision: To deliver 3 to 5 new coral innovative products annually for the pharmaceutical, biotech and/or cosmetics markets, to diversify their customer portfolios and to generate €300,000 to €500,000 per year, essentially through product sales and licensing.
What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained? Through its ecological technology, Coraliotech enables the artificial reproduction of coral molecules. Coral organisms are still poorly studied and protected by international conventions, therefore they represent a niche market for the development of marine innovative products. Creating these molecules in an artificial context preserves the natural ecosystems and thus represents a very important added value.
Monaco’s reputation for research and the protection of natural marine environments has long been established through its world-renowned academic research laboratory (CSM), the Oceanographic Museum, and Prince Albert
II of Monaco Foundation. Coraliotech offers an economic and commercial activity based on products from the marine world manufactured using entirely ecological processes and therefore we see a continued benefit not only
of financial support, but also from strong structural support from stakeholders interested in establishing Monaco as an international hotspot in this innovative field of activity.
Founders: François Richard, Maxime Pachot, Marc Ronet
Hires in Monaco: 0
Start date: December 2018
Funds raised: 0
LANÉVA HANDCRAFTS SMART DAYBOATS AND TENDERS, built with sustainable materials, electric propulsion and with a connected user interface. The product offers UHNWIs an unprecedented means of mobility at sea by avoiding noise, smell of fuel, heavy maintenance, expensive refueling and delicate maneuvers. This allows continued access to the most beautiful and protected areas, underwritten by a digital and extremely fast servicing support.
3-year vision: Within 3 years, Lanéva looks to become the world leader of nautical smart mobility, targeting a turnover of €6.5 million with a steady and strong growth from year three.
What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained? The company combines a presence in Monaco with a great appetite for innovation. These boats are a subtle blend of the latest developments in the nautical world with advanced technologies from other more mature industries. The business model responds to a strong customer demand for a turnkey service and no constraints as well as the continued financing of these innovations.
To date, the technology renewable energies in leisure boating is not fully appreciated and Lanéva aims to be a major player in this revolution by developing efficient and attractive boats.
Nancy Heslin Editor
Nancy (Wilson) Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.