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Growing your startup despite the difficulties

It is with pleasure that I will introduce the following startup. It’s called Woodoo, and it resides in Paris. It is revolutionary and it was created by Timothée Boitouzet. In startup SAFARI Virtual Experience, with Ondrej SVOBODA, they discussed how Timothée managed to grow his startup.

Here is a summary of his passage. But you can watch the video by clicking on the link at the bottom of the article.

Woodoo

Woodoo is a technology startup that aims to make wood the material of the 21st century. Wood will be one of the pillars of tomorrow’s bioeconomy. Thanks to it, we will be able to reduce greenhouse gases in heavy industrial sectors such as construction.

At Woodoo, they do biochemistry. It removes a troublesome molecule called lignin from wood. It replaces it with a filler that makes the wood a super material. It allows the wood to become translucent. It also allows it to become hyper rigid. So rigid that it can replace concrete, aluminum or steel! But the must is that this wood can also become a touch interface like our phones!!!

L’avantage de ce matériau est qu’il a une faible empreinte carbone. Il peut être utilisé dans de nombreuses industries qui font appel à Woodoo.

Imagine the possibilities of use:

  • We can build light fixtures out of wood.
  • Replace our touch screens with touch wood.
  • Build buildings with a design and super solid.
  • We can………… I let your imagination do the rest.

The history of Woodoo

Woodoo was created in 2017 by Timothy as a “solo founder”. It was hard at times. He would have liked to have someone with him to give him feedback on his crazy ideas. He didn’t have that colleague who would have had his feet on the ground. The challenge as a solo founder is to be innovative and dream of possible opportunities but also to have your feet on the ground and face reality.

Today, they are 32 people with 3 production sites: Troyes, Pont sur Seine and Lyon. They work with companies like Mercedes in the automotive sector; Unibail for the real estate sector; and other companies in the luxury sector.

The next step is to raise funds to support this growth and tackle the mobility and building markets. They also plan to move to the United States to further expand.

The crisis situation

Sudden infant death syndrome is a risk for start-ups. In order to grow, they need cash but they don’t have it. For Woodoo, the crisis situation was at the beginning of the company. We had to find money.

To find this money, Timothée participated in a competition of the ADEME (Agency of Development of the Environment). He got a grant of 150 000 €. But to complete this financing it was necessary to add private capital. Rather than raising funds in seed or pre-seed, he preferred to take out a €150,000 bank loan. The banker was willing to grant him this loan because of the innovation of the project. Here is an article that explains in detail the financing of a startup.

These 300 000 € allowed him to settle in Troyes, to have a head office in Paris and to hire 2 doctors in chemistry to develop the material. To achieve this result, he had to force fate because he started from nothing, having no employees, no money or even the premises. There was only Timothy and his idea.

An accompaniment

The support was decisive in Woodoo’s growth. It needed a specific actor for each step of its growth. They were accompanied by a lot of ecosystems receiving all kinds of help.

The startup was accompanied by an incubator called Agoranov. They support companies and startups with a scientific connotation. They have accompanied tech startups like Alan or Doctolib. Or even more scientific startups like Ynsect, Criteo and many others. The interest of this support is to be followed by a business manager who is specially dedicated to the success of your company. You can also exchange with other entrepreneurs on the best practices to have. And this helps you to integrate the ecosystem.

Woodoo also benefited from support from European-wide networks such as EIT and Climate KIC. But they were also helped by other networks like Chimie Paris Tech and even accelerated by LVMH at Station F.

Competitiveness clusters have also come to their aid. These are networks that help launch activities. This is something that all French people should be aware of because we excel in this field. Woodoo has therefore integrated structures such as Plastipolis, Xylofutur and IAR.

Advice to entrepreneurs

If you want to start a business but have no idea, the first step is to find a partner. Meet people who have the same desire as you and maybe your partner will have The idea.

For those who already have the idea, you can take a chance and go now. Go meet entrepreneurs and ex-entrepreneurs. And above all, get some guidance.

Follow the link to watch the video.

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