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IMAIOS, inventing e-anatomy

Information updated on 29/07/21

Founded in 2008 by two radiologists, the Montpellier BIC graduate startup is listed in the 2021 ranking of France’s 500 growth champions. Here’s an x-ray of their success.

IMAIOS, l’inventeur de l’e-anatomy @david maugendre
Even though their work is at the cutting-edge of today’s digital imaging, the company’s two founding radiologists got their training using a paper atlas of the human body. After realizing that fact, Denis Hoa and Antoine Micheau filled the void by founding IMAIOS in 2008 in Montpellier, with a goal of creating the very first interactive anatomical atlas for medical imaging.
It was a great idea. “We decided to create the tool we didn't have during our studies,” explain the two partners, both doctors in radiology. Nothing like that existed at the time. They had to start from scratch.

“It was like going from paper road maps to online maps.” 

That was clearly the right thing to do. From the very outset, IMAIOS attracted the attention of the world’s largest universities.
Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Yale… the list is long. “Our e-anatomy atlas is now used at 70% of the world’s Top 20 universities,” add Denis Hoa and Antoine Micheau, who also continue to exercise their profession. Continuing to work as radiologists allows them to keep up to date with the latest expectations in the radiology field.
Their online atlas is available by subscription. Pricing seems to please customers, as demonstrated by the company’s booming business. IMAIOS now employs nearly 30 people, with a subsidiary in New York, where it has been developing Radcore since 2014, a learning tool for radiology interns, in partnership with doctors at Harvard. The subsidiary’s customers also include American military hospitals.
IMAIOS was thus able to avoid the crisis. The company’s sales grew by 20.7% annually from 2016 to 2019, then by 15% in 2020 to reach 2.09 M€, 85% of which is from exports. This impressive performance enabled IMAIOS to join the 2021 ranking of 500 Growth Champions compiled by the daily French newspaper Les Échos. It was the first time the company submitted its candidacy for this ranking.     

While Denis Hoa and Antoine Micheau had the right idea for their project, they were not at all ready to create and manage a startup and then face the challenges brought by success.

“Neither one of us came from an environment where there were business managers, and we did not have any experience in entrepreneurship. Thanks to Montpellier BIC, we got the training we needed, benefiting from truly personalized assistance,” add the two partners, whose company was located at the Cap Omega incubator for five years before moving to the nearby MIBI facility, given the company’s international dimension.

Now with offices in its own 500 m2 facility located in Montpellier’s Eurêka business park, close to the MIBI building, IMAIOS has now expanded its anatomical expertise to include house pets and zoo animals. For house pets, they worked in partnership with Laurent Blond, a radiologist at the Languedocia Veterinary Hospital and Susanne Boroffka from the University of Utrecht. For zoo animals, they established an agreement with Baptiste Mulot, the head veterinarian at the Beauval zoo park. “We have very strong growth potential,”  summarizes Denis Hoa. IMAIOS, a showcase for Med Vallée.
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