Edge Technologies helps bring IoT sensor manufacturing back to France

success story
Edge Technologies helps bring IoT sensor manufacturing back to France
01 June 2022 / Digital Economy, Grow your business, Start your business

The company has gone from incubation to production in just three years!

The start-up Edge Technologies is preparing to enter its manufacturing phase. Three years after setting up in the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, its founder Thomas Guillet believes southern France gives him everything he needs to develop his intelligent sensors for industry. Between France and Singapore, he met with Provence Promotion in 2019, after receiving encouragement from the SCS cluster. It was the starting point for a great entrepreneurial adventure, a whirlwind tour and a decisive connection with SATT South East. With initial support, and now €680,000 in funding from Région Sud, Edge Technologies is relocating its production lines to Provence.

Edge Technologies is getting ready to launch its own manufacturing in 2023 with the purchase of nine robotic machines. Its intelligent, self-powered sensors for Industry 4.0 will be produced in Provence thanks to a €680,000 grant from the European ERDF-ESF program. The company is also preparing an A series round of financing to raise €3 million to accelerate its growth.

A high-performance R&D ecosystem and partnership opportunities

"When I was in Singapore, Aix-Marseille-Provence was recommended to me and I do not regret my choice at all. From the technology transfer agreement with SATT South East in 2019, to the assistance we got for our proof of concept, to this grant, the region has sprung into action to help me create and grow my start-up in Provence," says Thomas Guillet, founder of Edge Technologies.

The start-up has also forged several strong partnerships with local players: the IM2NP laboratory at Aix-Marseille University to work on embedded AI; Nanoz, an electronic components supplier in Rousset; and Trusted Objects, a security expert which advised it to come and explore opportunities in Provence.

In November 2021, after an incubation period at the Ecole des Mines in Gardanne, Edge Technologies had grown into a start-up when it moved into the Puits Morandat business park. Now it is looking for its future production site in the same area.

"To scale our business and install our production lines, we need around 2,200 sq ft. Our hyper-growth is in a transition phase, so we are looking for locations with flexible leases," Thomas Guillet explains. As part of this expansion project, Pays d'Aix Développement is working hard to help them find their next address.

A relocation plan prompted by the pandemic

Edge Technologies' sensors are designed for industrial use. They are made to be deployed in hazardous environments and meet the most stringent safety standards (ATEX, IECEX, UKCA). But in the original business model they were supposed to be manufactured by subcontractors in Asia. However, during the Covid crisis and despite his many contacts ‒ particularly in Singapore where he ran his previous company, it was impossible for Thomas Guillet to visit any sites or work with an Asian partner. He decided not to sit around and wait. Instead, he hired two people in Provence to insource production.

Edge Technologies currently employs 10 people and will open six new positions by the end of the year. The start-up, which markets three IoT sensors under the Sensa.io brand (valve position, temperature and pressure), has begun developing new high value-added sensors. A range of acoustic sensors is being studied to detect leaks and conduct predictive maintenance, alongside another for gas detection.

With orders in Australia and New Zealand and tests in progress at Seveso offshore sites in Houston (United States) and the North Sea, Edge Technologies gets most of its business from international markets. At the rate of two new products per year and 2,000 sensors manufactured per month by 2025, we expect this start-up will continue to grow.

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