A Weekend at Vivatech: a Startup’s Point of View

A weekend in Vivatech, a startup's point of view

On May 17 and 18, we went to Vivatech for the first time. This major event took place from 16 to 18 May at Paris Portes de Versailles. It brings together the technologies and innovations of tomorrow.

Very excited but also a little impressed, we started Friday by exploring the room. And what we saw didn’t disappoint us. More stressed, on Saturday, we had the chance to exhibit our products on Inria‘s booth.

So we had a very challenging and exciting weekend.

Friday May 17th at Vivatech: The Things that Impressed us Most

Like children in a toy store, we entered this incredible place. Vivatech brings together prestigious speakers, leaders from the world of technology, 13,000 talented start-ups and the innovations that will shape tomorrow.

A world of innovation

Our eyes wide open, we explored the event. We were surprised by TechforGoods innovations like Twiice, an exoskeleton that allows paraplegic persons to walk, the Myfood connected greenhouse or the eTree connected solar tree.

Vivatech 2019 : start-up innovations

We were also able to meet some promising companies which impressed us with their projects: the Pong table, a physical replica of Atari’s famous video game saled by Avranches Automatic to change from the usual foosball table in startups’ recreation areas; Ullo World products that improve the daily lives of healthcare professionals and the amazing interactive mirror of Hello Mirrors.

Speakers from all over the world

During this show, many political and technological personalities were expected: Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Ginni Rometty (IBM), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Jack Ma (Ali Baba) and many others.

But, after exploring the two halls of the show, we preferred to attend different talks on the huge “Stage One”.

First, we attended a round table on the dangers of AI and data exploitation with Cédric Villani, French Mathematician and politician. Then, Yann Le Cun Professors at the prestigious NYU also a Facebook employee and Antoine Petit chairman of the CNRS (French institute for research) came on stage to discuss the predominant place of large companies such as Facebook, Google or IBM in research on artificial intelligence (particularly deep learning). In particular, they highlighted the dangers of privatizing the most highly qualified researchers.

Garry Kasparov at Vivatech 2019

And at the end of the day, the conference “Can AI be Evil? “brought together Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and Avast ambassador, with Noël Sharkey, Emeritus Professor at the University of Sheffield, for a discussion on the dangers associated with the evolution of AI. They concluded that AI itself is not a real danger, but rather the opportunities it offers to humans (and more specifically the dangers of widespread use of AI in weapons systems).

We left Vivatech Friday evening with our heads full of ideas and inspiration, ready to face intense Saturday!

Saturday May 18th at Vivatech: Thowing Ourselves in at the Deep End

For this last day, we arrived focused and determined. From 9am, we set up our stand on the Inria booth. The French national research institute dedicated to digital sciences supports us in our development. Thus, Inria offered us to exhibit at Vivatech. The super-efficient team on the booth encouraged and supported us throughout the day.

Our Experiment: Vote Again and Again!

To boost our stand and illustrate our expertise, we did prepare a nuanced voting experience on a touch screen. Participants were asked to answer a simple question by choosing one of two proposals (each illustrated with an photo). It may seem simple and even childish for an innovation event, but our experience was richer than it first seemed.

In fact, we set up a poll that presented, for each of the 4 questions, 2 randomly selected proposals among a set of 4 to 6 possibilities.

For example, the question “For you, Paris is…”, had 5 possible answers: “La tour Eiffel”, “Montmartre”, “Notre-Dame de Paris”, soccer team “Le PSG” or “Le Louvre”. But each voter only saw two of them.

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Back from the Grand’Ouest Innovation show

Then, using a method similar to the Condorcet system, we are able to obtain the consensus for each of the questions. Based on a very simple interaction, our experiment makes it possible to bring out nuanced information relative to a geographical population. We can imagine many improvements and interesting application cases for marketers together with an advertising goal or even public communities to develop interaction with the population.

To discover the results of our experience at Vivatech, we invite you to read our article until the end.

A day full of surprises

Thus, the day was filled with interesting and enriching meetings: students, technophiles, curious people and investors with who we were able to exchange ideas about the tools for collaboration and the benefits of a more horizontal organization of groups.

One of the culminations of our day was the visit of Ms Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. We had the great pleasure to welcome her on our booth to show her our products and let her try out our voting experiment.

Vivatech 2019 : Frédérique Vidal on the Inria's booth

We wish to thank everyone who came to our booth, exchanged views on our products, and participated in our experimentation. We also wish to express a very big “thank you”, to Inria for welcoming us and allowing our presence at Vivatech this year.

The Results

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the results of the vote! First, we recorded more than 400 responses (more than 100 participants with an average of 4 responses per participant).

To fully understand the results, it is important to know that this is done in the form of duels. For each proposal, we compute each of the percentage of duel won versus each other proposal. The winning proposal is the one that gets more than 50% against each of the opponents. The score for a proposal is the minimum percentage of victory. In our question below, the Eiffel Tower wins at least 58% against all other proposals. But it wins 100% of duels versus the PSG, for example.

Thus, our experience has shown that despite the recent blaze in Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral is only third after the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly the monument that best represents the French capital. On the contrary, the PSG only won twice throughout the day. We can say that the audience at Vivatech is not very fond of football!

Vivatech 2019

Vivatech being one of the culminating technological events of the year, we wanted to see the technology that seemed the most promising. Well, it was the new prosthesis that fascinated our visitors the most. On the other hand, the voice assistants had no effect on them and came in last.

Vivatech 2019 : poll

Unsurprisingly, the results revealed that the country that most attracts aspiring startupers is the United States. Nevertheless, and to our great surprise, Senegal came just behind. Perhaps the future paradise for startups?

Finally, the most essential facility, at work, for our participants is the cafeteria, followed by the library and sports. Food before culture, not very surprising for the country of gastronomy!


And here it is, it’s over! Back in our beautiful capital of Britany, we only have one regret: not having spent more time at the show. We loved discovering all the innovations that will contribute to shape the world of tomorrow.

See you next year Vivatech, we already miss you!

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