Feb 25 2018

NETVA 2018 edition (New Technology Venture Accelerator) in partnership with Inria

Inria partners with the NETVA mentoring program so as to promote the participation of Inria startups. (see interview of 2017 laureate Arnaud Laprévote, CEO of Lybero.net and Gilles Fedak, co-founder of iEx.ce at the end of the article)

Created in 2010 by the Office for Science and Technology at the French Embassy in the United States, NETVA (New Technology Venture Accelerator) is a mentoring program tailored for young, innovative French companies hoping to discover or better understand the inner-workings of the North American high-tech market.

This offer is broken down into different opportunities including, strategic trainings as well as access to a vast academic, scientific, and industrial network. An introductory session is organized for the group of laureates in Paris before joining one of the Offices for Science and Technology of the French Embassy in the United States (in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) or in Canada (in Toronto).

NETVA allows young French innovative companies to effectively address the North American market in their specific industry.

The selected companies will receive both entrepreneurial training and practice during a week long immersion in the U.S.  The companies will also be supported and accompanied by one or two American mentors  in order to establish a lasting relationship with American partners.

NETVA  therefore offers 3 major components: training, mentoring and networking.

The objectives:

  • Discover the support potential and mechanisms for innovation in North America.
  • Analyze the opportunities for development or pre-installation
  • Develop academic and industrial partners.
  • Acquire an expertise of the North American market in the innovation sector.

NETVA 2017  call for application is open until March 31st, 2018. (laureates notification on May 24th).

Find out more about the program, the selection criteria and application form on the program’s website: www.netvafrance.com 

Interview:  Arnaud Laprévote, CEO Lybero.net, NETVA 2017 laureate.

Arnaud Laprévote
© Lorn Tech

Lybero.net was co-founded by Bertrand Wallrich former CISO of Inria and technical director of the High Security Laboratory of Inria Nancy – Grand Est / Loria and Arnaud Laprévote former creator of Free&ALter Soft, Linbox FAS and former CEO of Mandriva.

Lybero.net provides easy to use, easy to deploy, manage and control cryptographic solutions. Its first product is CryptNDrive a web, end-to-end encrypted file sharing solution. It integrates a recovery function based on a threshold cryptography allowing a quorum of secret administrators to give access to the encrypted information without having themself access to the information.


  • Arnaud, can you tell us what your previous activity was?

I was working in the Transfer Innovation and Partnerships service of Inria Nancy-Grand Est as a business developer. I had previously created an open source service company in 1996 that became an open source software development company. Linbox FAS was then bought in 2007 by Mandriva (a French linux distribution software editor)  where I was in charge of all research projects. After 3 years, I became the CEO of Mandriva for 18 months. I then arrived at Inria in 2014. As an industrial researcher and creator of a software service company then software editor, it was very natural to work at Inria. That’s where I met Bertrand Wallrich and became very interested in his activity.


  • And at Inria what was your activity?

Basically, it was a wide range of activities dealing with valorization of various technologies and related contacts. My main activities were setting up an open source consortium for the Sofa medical simulation framework and then being the project coordinator of the Horizon Startup initiative, and at the end, working on the startup project. I really loved having this occasion to discuss with researchers of very different research areas and thinking about the potential associated businesses.

My first company was much involved in computing infrastructure (OS and software deployment, backup …) so I have some insights on security related subjects. Hence I was very focused on all subjects related to security. When I discovered the High Security Laboratory, I was very excited by what they were doing. And I was running with Bertrand so we had time to speak of what could be done with the different developments.


  • What are your plans now?

We have 3 products: CryptNDrive, a SDK allowing to integrate native cyphering in web application and LEMS our ultra-secure escrow only system. We just released a new version of CryptNDrive that includes an encrypted instant messaging system among other new features. We are now commercially pushing these different solutions and especially CryptNDrive.

Thanks to NetVa, we have a distributor in the USA, who is providing us new interesting and surprising use cases every week. We are using the NETVA experience to find new distributors in different countries.

We have tons of ideas to extend our software and the associated uses. We are going to work on the development priorities with our distributors.


  • NETVA 2018 edition is now open! What advice would you give to prospective applicants of NETVA?

Use NETVA as an anchor, and spend more time before and after to find even more opportunities in the USA. I went to Chicago before Washington and it was very productive. I had a lot of help of the people in the NETVA organization for preparing that, and I would have even more help if I had informed them in advance.

Interview:  Gilles Fedak, co-founder of iEx.ec, NETVA 2017 laureate.

Dr. habil. Gilles FEDAK is a permanent INRIA research scientist since 2004 at ENS-Lyon, France. After receiving his Ph.D degree from University Paris Sud in 2003, he followed a postdoctoral fellowship at University California San Diego in 2003-2004. His research interests are in Parallel and Distributed Computing, with a particular emphasis on the problematic of using large and loosely coupled distributed computing infrastructures to support highly demanding computational and data-intensive Science. He produced pioneering software and algorithms in the field of Grid and Cloud Computing that allow people to easily harness

large parallel systems consisting of thousands of machines distributed on the Internet.  He co-authored about 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers and won two Best Paper awards.  In 2012, G. Fedak  co-edits with C. Cérin the Desktop Grid Computing Book, (CRC publication). In 2015, he receives the Chinese Academy of Sciences PIFI Award.

In 2016, he’s the co-founder of the iEx.ec Blockchain company.


  • Gilles, how much is the research background important for the development of iEx.ec solutions?
iExec leverages more than fifteen years of research in Cloud and Grid computing. We’ve been very active in the area of Desktop Grid computing, which aims at using very large number of computers distributed on the Internet to execute very large scientific parallel applications. iExec relies on the XtremWeb-HEP middleware developed by CNRS and Inria, which provides many needed features around scheduling, fault tolerance, security, deployment, data management etc…


  • The iEx.ec start-up is a visionary and pioneering start-up in the blockchain landscape, can you tell us more about this exciting area?

iExec wants to decentralize cloud computing market by building the future of the Internet infrastructure. We are developing the  first blockchain -based decentralized Cloud market network.
iExec aims at providing to companies a scalable, secure and easy access to the services, the data-sets and the computing resources they need. Our technology relies on the Ethereum smart contracts and allows building a virtual Cloud infrastructure that provides high-performance computing services on demand. We envision a new eco-system of companies offering storage, computer farms, data providers, web hosting, SaaS applica- tions, and all making business to others through iExec.


  • The Startup iex.ec is very successful, this includes being one of the awardee of the NETVA’2017 competition that allowed you to have a first experience with the USA market, can you tell us what you learned from this experience and the impact on the development of the company?

NETVA’2017 was an incredible experience for iExec. The two co-founders spent an entire week in San Francisco and the bay area meeting outstanding people from the largest IT companies (Docker, Intel, Apple, Sony, BNPParisbas and more). Although blockchain and cryptocurrencies is a rather young topic, we always received enthusiastic welcome and had fruitful discussions with key repesntative. We were also pleased to meet researchers at Berkeley who are already very involved in every aspects of Blockchain. Directly or indirectly, the contacts initiated during the Netva immersion week are now being transformed in actual collaborations and partnerships with several key players like Intel and IBM and several startups from the Bay area.


  • What are your plans now?
We’re full steam towards delivering a major milestone for iExec. Scheduled for end of May, iExec will release the first decentralized market place for Cloud providers. Meanwhile, we are developing an ambitious R&D program regarding the decentralized Cloud that encompasses algorithmic  research by designing the Proof-of Contribution protocol, technology with the usage of SGX enclave technology proposed by Intel, and economics by investigating new business models that can cope with crypto-economics nature of iExec.


  • The NETVA 2018 edition is now open! What advice would you give to prospective applicants of NETVA?

The NETVA program is an true accelerator that can boost your project in many aspects, from fund raising to actual development on the US market.  You will learn a lot and it will also open doors in France as well.


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