Does the future of the aerospace belong to startups?
Does the future of aerospace belong to startups? Grégoire Aladjidi, Head of Safran Corporate Ventures, and François Chopard, Managing Director of Starburst Accelerator, the leading incubator for startups in the aerospace industry, debated this theme during a “battle conference” organized on Tuesday, June 20 on the Paris Air Lab stand at the Paris Air Show.
Created in 2015, Safran Corporate Ventures is the Group’s corporate venture capital arm, set up to invest in startups operating in its business sectors. In conversation with François Chopard, Grégoire Aladjidi the director of Safran Corporate Ventures, discussed the barriers limiting access to this highly technological market, which until recently was also highly segregated. Success stories, such as that of Space X, are beginning to show that newcomers can now find their place in this industry.
However, the dreams (pursued by some start-ups) of making space a destination accessible to all, or of developing a new supersonic aircraft, are coming up against very strict security regulations and long certification processes for innovations, which are part of everyday reality of the aerospace industry.
Despite occasional differences in viewpoints, a common conclusion emerged from the debate: it is by establishing a collaborative ecosystem between major industrial actors and agile entrepreneurs that our industries will remain innovative and competitive.
Indeed, the traditional industry players must now deal with the more than 1,000 startups ready to “shake up” the aerospace world in the context of the current technology boom. Today, large groups, whose time is often taken up dealing with obligations relating to their order backlogs, can find sources of innovation and resources by developing partnerships with startups.
With this in mind, Safran has chosen to adapt an industrial policy based on working with a range of quality suppliers, as well as to pursue an investment policy designed to meet the challenges faced by the Group's businesses. For example, in 2015, Safran Corporate Ventures took a stake in Krono-Safe, a start-up created in 2011 that develops software for “real-time” applications of safety-critical equipment.
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