The two ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prizes have been awarded to Antoine Tournet and Paul Lascombes
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DIODON Drones Technology
The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Antoine Tournet, an ISAE-SUPAERO graduate in the ENSICA class of 2018, co-founder and CEO of DIODON Drone Technology, founded in 2017. The start-up designs and produces all-terrain drones for applications in demanding environments.
The DIODON inflatable drone project was undertaken with Roman Luciani, also an ISAE-SUPAERO graduate in the ENSICA class of 2018, from the start of their studies at ISAE-SUPAERO in 2014.
During his preparatory school studies, Antoine, a winter sports enthusiast, carried out several engineering projects on such topics as the vibratory bowl feeders on the production lines at LEGRAND or the methods used to install rivets at AIRBUS. At the same time, the tech-savvy Roman studied the development of a multirotor drone at his preparatory school.
These experiences bringing together team management and advanced technologies were valuable to them and gave them the desire to undertake their own innovative technological project. As classmates they came together in this shared taste for entrepreneurship. The complementarity between their skills is what gave them the idea to develop the first drone with an inflatable structure – the DIODON.
Throughout their studies, they spent their time developing this new product: Roman was in charge of technological development and Antoine dealt with business development and finance.
DIODON was born of a desire to bring technology into hard-to-access environments. It is now a business with a structure that enables it to develop its R&D capacities while ensuring its products’ in-house industrialization. Recruitment, office space and production processes have been planned accordingly.
Housed at ISAE-SUPAERO since 2017, DIODON moved to the PROLOGUE business incubator in Labège in February 2019 and now has 25 employees – a figure that should increase by the year 2022.
The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes, a graduate of ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017) and École Polytechnique (X2013), co-founder and Scientific Director of EXOTRAIL, founded in 2017. Exotrail is a start-up that designs and supplies transport solutions for the space sector. It markets electric propulsion systems to small satellite manufacturers.
For Paul, everything started during his studies at École Polytechnique (X2013) where he carried out a scientific project to develop an instrument to measure the thrust of an electric microthruster. Thanks to this project, which he worked on in 2014/2015, he became interested in space and in the opportunities for marketing this new kind of thruster adapted to nanosatellites. This project planted the seeds for the Exotrail adventure launched in 2015. During his studies, first at École Polytechnique and then at ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017), Paul Lascombes developed his scientific culture and his entrepreneurial culture while starting to work more and more intensely for Exotrail.
In 2017, after his end-of-studies internship at Airbus Defence and Space, he joined Exotrail full time to prepare two projects: setting up the company from a strategic and technical point of view in order to raise the initial funds, but also technical coordination that would enable him to capitalize on the knowledge acquired during development with SATT Paris-Saclay, (Société d’Accélération du Transfert de Technologies (SATT) facilitates and develops the transfer of innovations from public academic research). This was done to launch the technology foundations necessary for the demonstration mission, all with a small team of 6 people.
After raising this initial capital and a substantial increase in the team, Paul’s work turned to three main aspects connected to his title of Scientific Director:
- Operational management of the software development team based in Toulouse.
- Technical organization of the entire team and coordination of R&D.
His role is to constructively question the technical choices made by the development teams. He ensures the coherency of all the activities and technical interactions for the various development aspects and coordinates R&D actions.
- Definition of Exotrail’s long-term strategy. He oversees discussions on the SpaceVan (orbital transport vehicle housing nanosatellites to transport them from their launch orbit to their final operational orbit) and keeps up with launch problems and in-orbit services.
The entrepreneurship prize launched by the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation in 2019 aims at encouraging entrepreneurship; the prize is a way to provide support for start-uppers in their promising, innovative projects, notably in the aviation, space and defense fields.