Lycie, the winner of the Galileo Masters ESA Space Solution Challenge 2018, developed the first mobile application to actively prevent traffic accidents. The app informs the driver in real-time about potential risks on the road and based on the driver’s behaviour by making use of a CNES patent and machine-learning algorithms. It reduces accidents by taking a systemic approach and therefore lowers costs for insurance companies and the drivers themselves. By addressing the need for “safe transport systems for all”, Lycie contributes to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
Ines Kühnert (IK), Galileo Masters` project manager, interviews Jean Galinowski (JG)
IK: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
JG: Since we won the Galileo Masters ESA Space Solution Challenge in December 2018, we’ve developed an alpha version, collected feedback from users, interviewed potential customers and revamped our roadmap to integrate all the lessons learned so far. Our first product will be an app that detects drowsiness and driving anomalies. It’ll be continuously improved to include further features such as detecting distraction and abnormal behaviours of other cars. Because we’re still a small team of 5 people, we’ve got to be careful about what we can identify and accomplish and what we can’t do. It’s all about setting the right goals and working together to achieve them. But we weren’t alone: We appreciated the 2-month mentoring provided through Astropreneur H2020 and, later on, the invitation by GSA to co-exhibit at the MWC (Mobile World Congress). We’re now part of a large community with the help of the Incubateur Paca Est and we are planning to apply to the ESA Business Incubator Centre.
IK: What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far?
JG: When we won the first prize at ActinSpace France in June 2018, everything seemed possible and no challenge was big enough to stop us. However, a closer look at the competitive landscape, which took us much longer than our initial search, showed many indirect competitors! Our challenge has thus been to work on our DNA to find a suitable position for Lycie in the ecosystem. Our objective was to find the first paying customers and then the adequate product market fit. With so many different players around, it was crucial to identify possible partnerships and set realistic goals.
IK: How and when did the idea for your solution emerge?
JG: It became obvious to us that the CNES patent “detection of abnormal behaviours” was a key enabler to create an app that would reduce the number of road traffic accidents. Driven by our vision of saving lives, we worked together on the concept of monitoring both the road and the driver via his smartphone. Within 24 hours, we had the first version of the business plan and were ready to show it to the world… and received tonnes of valuable feedback in return!
IK: What convinced you to enter the Galileo Masters ESA Space Solution challenge with your business case?
JG: Having received initial support from Incubateur Paca Est, we were told to have a look at the Galileo Masters 2018 ESA Space Solution challenge. On top of having a chance to compete with world-class projects and receiving feedback from experts, we were also very interested in pitching for the E-GNSS accelerator. In the end, taking part in the challenge was a great experience that allowed us to make a difference by using space technology. I recommend it to all those interested in reaching the next level with a prestigious international prize.
IK: What do you think to benefit from the ESA business incubation support?
JG: The ESA business incubation support is a great opportunity to meet mentors and investors that would otherwise be very difficult to reach. We’ll stay at our current incubator and we’ll gain extra support on both the business development and technical expertise. It’ll help us to create a stronger structure for the company and enable the creation of high-tech jobs based on the application of space technology.
IK: How did the Galileo Masters help to boost your business case?
JG: Galileo Masters is a catalyst for space innovation. We received it as the acknowledgment of hard work in the right direction, accelerating our development and opening up opportunities in Europe. Our partners welcomed the prize positively and quickly understood the benefits brought by space technology. For investors, it added a green flag in their assessment of the company’s worth and its forward-thinking applications.
IK: Let’s reach for the stars – what do you plan for your business case in the future?
JG: What we learnt from other successful projects is that growth is best achieved through partnership: By joining forces, two projects with the same objective have much more chance of reaching it. That’s why we’re looking for companies with fleet vehicles who share the same vision as us – driving safety first – and who want to reduce the impact of road traffic accidents in our society. To reach the stars, we believe that we need to become the missing piece in the road safety ecosystem.
Did you enjoy this interview with this outstanding innovator? Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with Galileo Masters innovators on our AZO Blog.