Since then, a thriving ecosystem has been built on the territory of Nantes. Serial-entrepreneur and President of FrenchTech Nantes, Anaïs Vivion joins this joint interview to tell how this ecosystem is reinventing itself to meet new social and environmental challenges.
Naoned has been digitizing our heritage since 2007
For nearly a millennium, Humanity has been documenting its history on paper media. The archiving of these documents is undergoing a digital transformation, thanks to the start-up Naoned, which publishes digital archiving software intended for public and private players.
“Our mission is to contribute to the preservation of our heritage by allowing the digital archive of these documents. But also to enhance this heritage by making it accessible to as many people as possible” explained Alexis Moisdon.
In 2007, the year Naoned was created, the Nantes tech ecosystem had not yet developed. “At that time, Digital Canteen did not exist. There was also no incubator besides Atlanpole, which went with us. Actually, there were still very few tech startups at that time in our territory. It’s hard to imagine because the offer today is so rich and varied!” remembers the founder of the startup.
Fifteen years later, Naoned has 20 employees. “We are constantly recruiting: we are currently looking for a product owner, a business developer and a business consultant who will be responsible for training and assisting users, with a dual appetite for IT and document and archive management” said Alexis Moisdon.
Clever Cloud has been automating application deployment since 2010
A leading cloud computing platform for developers, Clever Cloud deploys, hosts and maintains its customers’ applications and data in operational condition. “Our goal is simple: reduce the costs of our clients’ IT projects while accelerating their delivery speed so they run better and faster. We also want to create a European cloud that is a real alternative to GAFAM” sums up Quentin Adam, founder of Clever Cloud.
“We are one of the very first tech companies created in Nantes” the businessman remembers. Then Quentin Adam contributes to the construction of the Nantes tech ecosystem. He thus founded the Ici Lundi initiative, which offers the same collaboration spaces as Le Palace (which also hosts Clever Cloud), incubation and mentoring programs, thematic events and networking. Quentin Adam is also behind Atlangames, a cluster dedicated to video game professionals.
“Over time, Clever Cloud has joined multiple networks. The Digital canteen, which is certainly the first door to push for the entrepreneurs of Nantes. But also Western DNAa network of professionals and businesses in the Great West, or the FrenchTech Nantes” said Quentin Adam.
The cloud computing specialist start-up now has around fifty employees. “We will probably recruit about fifteen people next year. Our favorite technologies are Rust and Scala but we will also need front developers” said the entrepreneur.
A changing Nantes tech ecosystem
With more than 28,000 jobs in the digital sector, Nantes has become the third national employment pool behind Paris and Lyon. Founder of Beapp in 2011 and Képhyre in 2017, Anaïs Vivion has seen the Nantes tech ecosystem evolve rapidly. “The ecosystem around publishers, ESNs and 100% tech startups was quickly organized. A transition is taking place because now, a third wave of startups is coming. They deal with more social, environmental and ethical issues while relying on new technologies” explained the President of FrenchTech Nantes.
Among these impactful startups, we find Lhyfe and its renewable hydrogen, Joh and its intimate products in organic cotton, or Smartway and its solution to combat food waste. “Despite this change, the ecosystem has retained its DNA of the “Nantaise game” characterized by great proximity and solidarity between private and institutional players” said Anaïs Vivion.
The only downside: the 300 Nantes tech startups desperately need talent to continue their development. “The needs are very important, it is now a brake on the development of some companies. This is why the Un Job à Nantes #Tech initiative was born. A collective coming together to promote the attractiveness of our territory and its talent ecosystem”.
Beyond its dynamic economy and its steaming tech ecosystem, the metropolis of Nantes is not short of assets. Its proximity to the sea and nature, its cultural richness, its quality of life… are all attractions to convince talents looking for a new professional and personal project.