WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
First, I did several internships during my studies focusing on human factors, notably in ISAE-SUPAERO’s human factors lab and in a partner lab in Japan.
Then, I spent 6 months in a start-up as an engineer where I participated in test flights because I have a PPL (Private Pilot License) from ISAE-SUPAERO. I developed applications in that start-up and tested them. I then left the company to focus on our Hinfact business creation project.
WHAT IS HINFACT’S MISSION?
Hinfact was created in October 2018 and has since benefited from the expertise of ISAE-SUPAERO’s Laboratoire de Facteurs Humains et de Neuroergonomie which carries out research on human error with the aim of improving performance and safety in high risk systems, such as aviation systems. The goal is therefore to disseminate this research towards industry. It is about objectifying the study of human factors, by bringing data and supports that can be easily used by anyone: an instructor, a human factor manager, an engineer, etc.
The idea of Hinfact came during my work with Fréderic Dehais (teacher-researcher at ISAE-SUPAERO and head of the Institute’s human factors and neuroergonomics lab). We thought about entrepreneurship and focused firstly on pilot training, after meeting several players in the sector with my partner.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPERIENCE?
The lack of time. We want to do lots of things every day and we are sometimes too ambitious about what we can actually get finished in a day! But that’s what makes entrepreneurship so exciting.
At the company level, it wasn’t really that difficult finding the right people to speed up things, apart from the process of contacting them, especially at the commercial level.
The aviation sector also has its share of difficulties: It is a sector with very long cycles, compared to a start-up which has rapid developments and quick decision-making. This is something we took into account in our relationships with our customers, but it was not easy to deal with initially.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG PERSON WISHING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
My main advice would be to take full advantage of your network. We have a very solid network: that of ISAE-SUPAERO in particular. The Institute’s Foundation, L’Amicale and former ISAE-SUPAERO students, they all contributed a great deal. We also benefited from the support of Polytechnique since Thomas had done the X-HEC Entrepreneurship Masters.
HOW HAS YOUR TRAINING AT ISAE-SUPAERO HELPED YOU IN YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPERIENCE?
ISAE-SUPAERO gave me the basics to start work at HINFACT: how to measure brain activity, analyze flight data with the eye-tracker in particular. Then in the last year of training, I took the Entrepreneurship Certificate course, a certificate you can get after 2 months. I discovered the basics of entrepreneurship, and it seemed to me to be the best compromise between research and industry.