Schlumberger and Montpellier BIC join forces to assist four young digital companies in 2020. A call-for-projects is open until the end of 2019, a first for the giant in energy services and its center in Montpellier.
“Nobody can face major challenges such as energy and digital transition alone. We want to open ourselves to the outside world to innovate better,” explains Yan Herrmann, manager of partnerships and open innovation at the Schlumberger center in Montpellier.
In late November, he presented a call-for-projects for the “SPARX by Montpellier BIC” incubator launched with Montpellier Métropole. “This format, including a call-for-projects and several public sector partners* in the Hérault department, is a first in France for Schlumberger.We want to create deeper ties with our local ecosystem.” The Montpellier technology center, one of the group’s 90 centers around the world, employs 130 people of 24 nationalities.
The SPARX by Montpellier BIC incubator will assist four startups younger than three years old in the digital sector, from March to October 2020. Candidacy is open until the end of December 2019. Selection will take place in January on four themes: artificial intelligence (AI) applied to the industry or physics, web technologies, applied mathematics, and geosciences. In particular, Schlumberger is looking for “generic technology building blocks” that could be adapted to its businesses. In parallel, a SPARX by Innovosud incubator for green energy will be launched in Béziers, where Schlumberger’s Cameron subsidiary is located.
High-level business and technology assistance for 8 months
The winning digital companies will benefit from personalized assistance provided by a Montpellier BIC project manager for eight months. Winners will have access to training courses, assistance programs, and the BIC ecosystem, as well as shared office space at the Cap Omega incubator. This is an important benefit, notably given the fact that the 700 companies assisted by Montpellier BIC over the past 30 years have a 5-year success rate of 85%.
On top of that assistance, Schlumberger adds another 70 hours (ten workdays) of technical expertise, and the possibility to participate in the company’s innovation events and leverage the group’s vast network. In exchange, startups agree to stay in Montpellier for at least three years following assistance. “If all partners are satisfied after this first operation, we can do it again,” says the manager of partnerships and open innovation at the Schlumberger center.
* Montpellier BIC, Innovosud, CCI Hérault, AD’OCC regional agency, SATT AxLR, Hérault prefecture.