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Becoming an intrapreneur - After 6 years supporting maturation of Deep-tech concepts

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

In August 2014, in the former institution I was working for, I took the opportunity of an internal reorg. at CNRS to support the jumpstart and seed funding of a nanomedicine theranostic company based in Lyon. I spent one year in the pre-incubation stage to build the package for initial see-funding of 250k€. I was supported by two exploration programs, the Lyon university tech transfer office on one side (Pulsalys)... and a start-up accelerator of the Lyon business school, on the other side (LyonStartUp).

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I realized the first month that after 10 years in industry, I was formatted and knew nothing about new venture creation. After hitting the wall, I became more humble and started unlearn for few months all my industry practices, to learn about entrepreneurship and corporate innovation. Then I got three excellent mentors within nanotheranostic venture team who were helping me to reflect. One of them, from our accounting partner, was an excellent financial and leadership advisor and after spending hours with him on developing the business proposition, I realized this was not a project for me, (values and personality) and decided to not embark on the venture creation.. a difficult choice knowing that 4 years later they achieved their proof of concept and raised 15M€ from venture capital.

Actually, I had realized that my expertise is at the exploration stage of a project with high degree of uncertainty and need to define the unique value proposition, to help the innovator to gain confidence in this weak defined context and help him/her understand what problem he/she wants to solve and how it is important and frequent.

A year later, from September 2015, I shifted my career in supporting the jumpstart of innovation projects, first as a consultant, reaching all tech transfer offices from my network, attending start-up accelerator programs and teaming-up with several founders looking to progress their start-up to the next stage. After supporting 4 of them, I started to look at jobs in corporate innovation industry. In March 2016, I got accepted in the three months IPSEN pharma accelerator program and was, in parallel, interviewed for several roles in tech transfer institutes and large corporation innovation units.

From June 2016, I joined the Innovation Lab of a Global German Industry Conglomerate. I spent the last 4 years developing the intrapreneur programs around DeepTech, supporting among a small team more than 70 intrapreneurs, 30 sprinted proposals in bootcamps, 15 pre-incubation, 5 incubations with more than 1M€ funding. In particular, I have invested extra working hours to understand Deeptech Innovation management in industry and large corporations under the guidance of experienced manager and mentors. Since January 2020, I support our Innovation Lab leadership team on strategy dialogue and on shaping new organisation and innovation process, all of that with a particular emphasis on collaboration and uncertainty management.

Those 6 years got me passionate about supporting opportunity seizing, conducting concept pre-incubation experiments, revising value proposition and unique advantage of each every venture we proposed for incubation. I enjoyed particularly becoming a mentor by coaching many intrapreneurs and helping then to build confidence in driving forward high uncertainties projects.

I believe that I have seen a lot around this deeptech corporate innovation and I am looking forward to broader my knowledge and expertise by joining one internal venture. The next step is to develop the operations and revenue models under the guidance of seasoned venture creation coaches. This intrapreneur role is a new challenge coming up and I am grateful to be in a company that offers those careers opportunities.

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