In 2017, Attestis won the ESNC ESA Special Prize and the France challenge, and last but not least, has been awarded with the 3rd place at the E-GNSS Accelerator Bootcamp in November in Tallinn. The startup has thereby profited from extensive local business support from the local organisers of the ESNC in France, especially from the E-GNSS Accelerator partner Incubateur PACA-EST. As a result, the company can now benefit from an additional EUR 62,000 in incubation and acceleration services for its business.
Discover how Attestis revolutionises the real-estate and construction market by tackling the risk of legal uncertainty while using satellite navigation data to prevent building projects from getting bogged down. AZO Project Manager Luisa Wagner (LW) interviews Guilhem Ensuque (GE), Founder and President of Attestis.
LW: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
GE: A lot has been achieved since we won the award at the ESNC 2017 in Tallinn: our founding team of two including our CTO Olivier and myself has grown to 5 people, we made a 180-degree turnaround in our go-to-market strategy, and now have our first B2B customers lined up. We have also released the first version of our platform and application, and the first version of our GNSS device is ready for production… Wow! What an exciting 10 months it has been!
Next we will be ramping up our sales channels in France, studying our expansion to international markets in the EU and beyond, and planning our evolution to rely on the Galileo Commercial Service.
LW: What was your team’s biggest challenge so far?
GE: There have, of course, been some technical challenges but they can always be solved with the right people, so our biggest challenges so far have been in hiring a good team and lining up the right subcontractors … and finding the money to pay them when we had no revenue. This latter challenge is only possible thanks to startup support schemes like ESA BIC, the E-GNSS Accelerator, as well as local and national bodies like Incubateur PACA-EST and Région Sud PACA. All these help bridge the seed equity gap until your business plan and track record are solid enough to elicit Venture Capital funding. My advice to would-be startup founder: make plans for things to take twice the time and cost twice the money you originally thought.
LW: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
GE: In old-school marketing classes, we are taught about the 5 Ps. Forget them. There are only 3 Ps that count for startup success. Go through them in iterative loops:
- PROBLEM: focus exclusively on a Problem that is urgent, pervasive and a solution that which People are willing to pay for
- Take the time to thoroughly listen to the People whom your Product will target and understand them
- Find the right People to build the Product. Do not underestimate the time it takes.
- PRODUCT: build the Product. This is the last step. Start small with a so-called Minimum Viable Product
LW: How did the ESNC and its network help you to kick-start your business case?
GE: Our triple award at the ESNC 2017 has been a major boost. Firstly, for morale, confidence-building and strengthening the bond with my co-founder Olivier. Secondly, it has established Attestis as a credible startup. Finally, it has opened the door to several space-related startup support schemes for us, including those from CNES, ESA BIC, the E-GNSS Accelerator and ESA Kickstart Activities. The next step might be to seek equity financing through the space technology ecosystem.
LW: How and when did the idea for your application emerge?
GE: I believe that, to find a problem worth solving, you have to experience it yourself first. Then, of course, you need to validate that there is a sizable market for a solution. Sizeable means above EUR 1 Bn. In the case of Attestis, that market is the real-estate and construction market (worth EUR 200 Bn in France alone), and the problem is the risk of legal uncertainty in which building projects might get bogged down. I had a difficult experience in that area and this is how the idea for Attestis came about.
LW: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in your project’s future?
GE: Our vision is that too many legal risks plague real-estate development projects and they can be alleviated thanks to technologies like GNSS, IoT and Blockchain, to name just a few. Starting with our first service that protects building owners from the risk of late objections to their building permits, our goal is to become the legal security platform for the real-estate industry. This is sure to be a long and exciting journey in which space applications will play a key role.