The worldwide innovation challenge that grew out the French government’s ‘Innovation 2030’ commission has come to a close, and Montpellier-based, Expernova has emerged as one of the big winners in the Big Data category.
Started in 2008 by Pascal Magnier and Clément Penin, Expernova is a platform focused on the science and technology space, which provides any collaborators (Directors of innovation, project managers, researchers, engineers, analysts, investors, etc.) with an understanding of the networks of experts and relevant projects on an international level. Based on comprehensive profiles of experts, projects, etc, users can leverage this information to develop partnerships with other institutions or individuals, a key element of success in the academic and scientific worlds. Expernova is also a part of the successful Montpellier-based incubator Cap Omega, who’ve also produced other French startup success stories such as Teads, Aquafadas, and BIME.
Due to innovative technology capable of analyzing large volumes of data, Expernova offers users a true global service covering Europe, Eastern Asia and North America and delivers 10 million expert profiles generated and automatically updated each month through analysis of 30 million documents and 40 millions patents. Their service is essentially as SaaS service, with a user-based annual subscription pricing model.
As the both science and academic sectors tends to be, by nature, highly global, Expernova started off as a global organization from its beginnings. According to cofounder Pascal Magnier, their client base hails from various markets, including France, Switzerland, US, UK, Belgium, Germany and China, with interesting opportunities emerging for them in markets like Japan. In addition, opportunities are also developing in other sectors, such as the tech/startup space, as many of their clients are looking increasingly to other entities, companies, etc for innovation and partnership. Magnier mentioned that adding this type of content is one opportunity their exploring in more depth.
One big advantage that they’ve had thus far has been their focus on science and academics, which tend to have data that is much better structured and, as a result, easier for technology and individuals to compile, analyze, categorize and implement into their service. However, this data mining and analysis process is still highly complex, which Magnier, Penin and their team continue to work improve and streamline. This will become even more of a challenge as they look to expand into new, less structured sectors and data sources. As such, they plan to direct the 200k grant they will receive as a winner of the Innovation Challenge towards these enhancements.
For the moment, Expernova are the leader in this type of information. Their biggest competitors are actually indirect, so entities like consulting firms, company internal research departments, and niche research houses who focus on doing manual research to compile potential partner lists. Clearly though, Expernova’s solution is quickly emerging as a better, more cost-efficient, and more practical approach to helping science and academic experts engage and connect.
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