#EPITECHFORWARD 2017

In the same way that Epitech requires its students to bootstrap their Epitech Innovative Projects, the school itself implements the agility of the “test / iterate” and, more generally, “lean start-up” methods in its own projects. Thus, Forward (FWD), these 2 weeks of entrepreneurial creativity, remains focused while spreading its wings ever wider for its third edition. This is also the reason why Maddyness is a partner of this 2017 edition. #EpitechForward 2017 began the Monday 13 and ends Friday, March 24.

Mobilization of the ecosystem

#EpitechForward 2017 remained focused by planning 6 conferences for the first week, from Monday 13 to Friday 17 March, including 4 conferences dedicated to the Business Model Canvas alone, the first of which was introduced by Emmanuel Carli, Director General of the school, in the company of Alexander Strzelewicz, who has recently raised 2 million euros with his Keymetrics project. At the same time, FWD 2017 opened itself to all the developments in entrepreneurship and start-up methodology. The 12 Epitech Schools invited numerous representatives of their respective ecosystems to mentor those groups that are conducting projects. In all, that represented no less than 200 members of our “start-up nation”.

Business Model Canvas and Innovation

As in previous years, FWD aims to acculturate third-year students of the Epitech curriculum to the Business Model Canvas – which this year concerned the Class of 2019. As this class will be leaving for internships on April 1 and then take off abroad for their fourth year, FWD marked the end of the first stage of their Innovation Track.

The Epitech Innovation Track

This Innovation Track begins with the “Piscine Moonshot”, which creates the best possible conditions to hatch project ideas. This is the “ideation sequence”, which is followed by the “prototyping sequence” and ends with Forward – 2 weeks of entrepreneurial creativity. In addition to conferences, all groups of the Class of 2019 met at least one of the entrepreneurs and startuppers who are massively present this year in the 12 schools of the Epitech network.

200 mentors in the 12 cities

This year, the Class of 2019 indeed had the chance to meet and benefit from the feedback of some 200 mentors distributed among the 12 cities, each meeting with a handful of EIP groups to challenge them in order to refine their pitches. The best projects (elected by their peers) had 2 days to improve their pitches before presenting them on Friday, March 24, before a quality jury composed of eminent persons from outside the school in each city of the Epitech network.

Mentors and mentoring

For the mentor, mentoring means asking questions, even “challenging” the members of the project when they show weaknesses, and it is normal that they should be perfectible at this stage, and to  cover the broad spectrum of the project within the framework of the lean start-up and Business Model Canvas – the idea, the product, the market fit, etc. It is also of the greatest interest for the students to meet entrepreneurs: these latter have already confronted their projects with the reality of the market.

Feedback from the turf

This “feedback” from the field is essential to the start-up methodology, which is different from the launch of conventional companies, especially when it concerns a startup with high technological content and therefore with strong potential in terms of “scalability”. However, the “mantras” so dear to startuppers, like “think big, start small, act fast” or “start now, plan later”, or even “if you fail, fail fast”, etc. are often still new concepts to students in the third year of the Epitech curriculum.

Joy and trembling

Creating a start-up is an adventure, with its highs (raising funds, for example) and lows: in France, nearly 90% of all startups fail. These conferences and this mentoring program intend to provide a whole set of good practices aimed at placing participants among the remaining 10%…

The conference program dedicated to the Business Model Canvas

  • This entrepreneurial adventure was the subject of the first conference led by Willy Braun (co-founder of Dafni). It took place on Monday, the 13th of March.
  • The second, on Tuesday, 14 was led by Sylvain Bureau, Associate Professor at ESCP Europe and responsible for the Entrepreneurship Chair and Option E of the same school. Its subject was the heart of a project; product or service « the value proposition ».
  • The object of the Wednesday, 15th March conference was « Resources » according to the Business Model Canvas, including both human resources and the technical means; with Jean Lebrument, in charge. An alumnus of Epitech’s Class of 2016, Jean is the co-founder and CTO of Brigad; a start-up that has just raised over 2 million euros.
  • Marc Rougier, co-founder of Scoop.it and a Partner at ELAIA Partners  spoke about acquisition, transformation and marketing- another crucial factor when developing a project.

  • Stéphanie Hospital, co-founder of the OneRagtime Investment fund developed all the modalities ranging from « seed internships » to Series A, B, etc.
  • Speaking of raising funds, Alexandre Strzelewicz had also something to talk about with his recent fund raising. It is with his collaboration that Emmanuel Carli has introduced those 2 weeks dedicated to entrepreneurship with a strong technological component.

  • As for, Octave Klaba, he brought those 2 weeks to a close: the founder, owner, Chairman and CEO of OVH, a company that needs no further presentation, explained to the entire assembly precisely how to move from a startup to a large group – what others call scalability.

 

Epitech Experience

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The Epitech Innovative Projects (EIP) Forum celebrated its 10th anniversary last year – today, it is changing. The format of the presentation of around one hundred end-of-study projects – the Epitech Innovative Projects (EIP) – is now called Epitech Experience. This name change is intended to highlight the increased requirement level at EPITECH. This transformation will take place live on Friday, 25 November. You can also experience it remotely via #EpitechXP2016.

The best Epitech Innovative Project

This « level up » in the school’s requirements will be particularly visible next Friday morning, when the EIP groups selected among the 12 cities of Epitech’s national network will pitch their projects before a highly-qualified jury. This year, all 14 of the selected groups (including 3 from Paris) have followed a coaching program dedicated to the art of the pitch. Before your eyes, these fifth-year students will abandon the purely academic world to step into the shoes of a startup.

102 long-term projects.

These 14 groups from the class of 2017 have been selected among 102 EIPs. Launched during their third year, these end-of-study projects were developed abroad during their fourth year, with practically every team member being separated from the others by multiple time zones. By learning to work remotely, acculturation to project management, implementation under the supervision of labEIP (the school’s Project Management Office), and the industrialization of their Minimum Viable Project (MVP) developed during Forward in the third year, an EIP is the first step of the transformation of a student into a professional, leading to a position in a business or to entrepreneurship.

The time and prizes

The 2016 edition of the EIP Trophies starts at 10:45 am. This competition between classmates gives the victors access to a project incubation at IONIS 361 or Creative Valley – the school’s partner incubators.

Debate during this innovation morning

The pitches of the groups participating in the EIP Trophies are preceded by an opening debate centered on « The digitization of society, its place and its impacts. » The digitization of society both in its social dimension and in the upheaval of the professions and sectors caused by the digital revolution.

The President of CNNum is back on campus

To speak about all these aspects, this year’s speakers are Philippe Mihelic, Innovation Manager of Groupe La Poste (and also founder of the Fulllsix Agency) and Mounir Mahjoubi, President of the National Digital Council, who already visited the school last September during the ‘Piscine’ Moonshot, whose themes for 2016 are clearly in line with the subject of this Friday’s conference.

The President of the jury and our students

Raouti Chehih, president of the Euratechnologies strategic council and president of the EpitechXP2016 jury, frequently encounters our students during the projects developed and accelerated within Euratechnologies, « an ecosystem whose vocation is to breed a generation of successful entrepreneurs in the new technology sector, as well as to build a strong economic power in this sector of activity at both the regional and national levels. »

Changing the world

“With their skills,” he adds, “the talents of Epitech have enormous power, well beyond their expectations, to make a difference for their country. When you master the technology, you can master the world and thus change it.” We are waiting to see the germination of the seeds of these new forms of disruption.

The words of the President of the Jury

Raouti Chehih is also a member of the school’s  Development Council, so he knows its value: “We have a very pragmatic and entrepreneurial vision at Epitech (…). It is a school that knows how to adapt to its times and this yields profiles that are really very interesting for businesses, with young people who are able to adapt to any situation and are capable of a modularity in their skills that is really very interesting. It is the hallmark of Epitech, which creates profiles that are highly sought after.”