innovation & technology

Le Tremplin : The World’s First Sports Innovation Platform by Paris&Co

Nov 28, 2018

In 2014, Paris&Co, the economic and innovation development agency of Paris, announced the creation of its sports innovation platform, Le Tremplin. Consisting of 12 incubators targeting different sectors, Paris&Co supports more than 300 startups each year and has been providing their expertise to innovative companies for the past 20 years.
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One of Paris & Co’s flagship platforms is Le Tremplin – “springboard” in French – which hosted its first cohort of startups in April 2015. Le Tremplin was born from the desire to create a place dedicated to sports-related companies, startups, public institutions and experts in order to allow the development of an economic sector of sports in Paris. The City of Paris and Paris&Co also wanted to provide optimal conditions to find fast technological solutions to major athletic challenges, enhancing the practice of sports for citizens within the urban context of Paris but also on a national and international level. Le Tremplin is considered as the world’s first sports innovation platform. Its raison d’être? To accompany startups to maturity by harnessing business opportunities in the sports market and linking them with industry leaders, investors, sports federations, leagues and institutions. This virtuous circle enables startups to grow and maximize its chances of success while instilling innovation in the core strategy of its private and institutional partners. Through its equity-free incubation programme, the platform already brought together over 80 sports-related startups with close to 30 large corporate and institutional partners around mentoring activities, workshops, conferences and networking events. It derives its incomes from two main sources of revenues: 60% coming from the founding partners and 40% from the startups incubated. As a non-lucrative organisation, Le Tremplin is re-investing all the benefits generated into the development of its incubator.  

From the selection process to the startups incubation

Located in the golden triangle of Parisian Sports, at the heart of the Parisian Sports Center, Le Tremplin is based in the iconic Jean Bouin rugby stadium. With over 100 million euros raised by its startups, Le Tremplin guided 80 entrepreneurial quests through their journey, giving them access to a network of key stakeholders in the sport industry, customized support, continued education with entrepreneurial experts and enhanced media coverage at both national and international levels. Le tremplin developed an incubation programme that could go up to three years and is focused on the following five axes:
Through regular appointments with experts to challenge or help the startups develop their product or service, strategy, business plan, pitching skills. A series of inter-startup workshops – to share best practices, advice and contacts – are also provided, with the aim of also identifying potential collaborations and synergies. Incubated startups benefit from bespoke mentoring and follow-ups, especially geared towards growing the business and raising funds.
Through inspiring conferences, workshops and courses given by industry experts such as Decathlon’s Head of HR or Olympique de Marseille’s director, help startups find fast solutions to the problems most of the startups face.
Le Tremplin has a prestigious network of nearly 30 corporate and institutional partners, including among others, the French Olympic Committee, the City of Paris, the French Ministry of Sports, Nike, PwC, Société Générale, The French Lottery (FDJ), Amaury Sports Organisation and L’Equipe. Each one of them contributes to the development of the startups and help them accelerate their business.
Le Tremplin has a large media network that enables the incubated startups to get a strong exposure in France and abroad. The selection process is made by Le Tremplin and its partners which gives the incubated startups a high level of credibility.
As part of Paris&Co’s network, Le Tremplin has access to the entire Paris&Co’s international partner network, and so do the incubated startups.

Omar el zayat, director at le tremplin sharee his point of view

The starting point was knowing the size of the market and seeing how many startups in the field of sports existed in France and their maturity level. The ideological and financial support of the City of Paris, the governing bodies and several actors of the private sector was crucial in rapidly gaining credibility. Le Tremplin is a programme of Paris&Co, an organisation that has been working in innovation since 1998. The success stories that emerged from Paris&Co and the knowledge capital acquired in the past 20 years are the secret weapon of the success of this initiative in growing rapidly and gaining the trust of the startups, the governing bodies and the private sector.
The environment in which a startup operates is moving at a very fast pace. The time scale is not the same for a startup as for a large company – a lot can change in 3 weeks! To convince partners to be faster in their decision-making process can be very challenging and it could be done only with partners that believe that innovation is a core value of their growth and through the results shown by previous collaborations.
Paris&Co knew that linking the two worlds was only possible by bringing in Le Tremplin’s team people that come from various backgrounds that have a deep understanding of the market. Which is why it hired Benjamin Carlier, a former Deputy Chief of Staff and Advisor for the Minister of Sports as the first Director of Le Tremplin. To help Benjamin in that endeavour, Paris&Co hired Omar El Zayat, an engineer, entrepreneur and former financial auditor as well as Vincent Chotel who studied and worked in sports and sports management. The intersection of disciplines of the first employees of Le Tremplin’s team alongside with Paris&Co’s expertise were the secret recipe to linking these two worlds. And it is by following this recipe that Le Tremplin’s team grew and on boarded Charles Fremont and Maryline Ottmann to continue accelerating the collaborations between these worlds.
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