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Start-ups, discover the new challenges that Safran Explore has in store!


As part of its open innovation initiative, Safran is turning to start-ups around the world for help on a cutting-edge program: Safran Explore. Following a first successful call for ideas in the field of hydrogen, the Group has identified new themes, which are all areas of innovation. For start-ups, this means concrete, ambitious cooperation opportunities for joint innovation in the aerospace sector. Get the ball rolling and join us today!

Safran Explore Canada and Flying Experience

Explore H²: hydrogen to decarbonize air transport

In June 2022, Safran launched “Explore H2”, its start-up identification and development program which is led by Safran Corporate Ventures. “We launched Safran Explore to identify agile and innovative players that will allow us to meet Group requirements in strategic areas, and to set up cooperative projects with them,” explains Grégoire Michel, Safran Explore Program Manager at Safran Corporate Ventures. The inaugural event therefore focused on hydrogen technologies – a perfect topic for open innovation, as it is both technically complex and offers great potential for decarbonizing air transport.

Working closely with Starburst Accelerator, Safran launched a series of challenges for start-ups on topics relating to its roadmap: management of hydrogen flows in engine systems, management of hydrogen temperature and condition, real-time monitoring of systems, fuel cells for the aerospace industry, etc. Around a hundred start-ups responded, and six were selected. “With these start-ups, we were able to set up eight cooperations, proofs of concept or pilot projects, on major programs carried out with several Group companies,” indicates Grégoire Michel.

Imagining the cabin of the future

Following a successful first attempt, Safran is now launching Safran Explore Flying Experience. “The end of the Covid-19 pandemic boosted innovation for aircraft cabins. This time, we have brought together Safran Seats, Safran Cabin and Safran Passengers Innovation to work on this open innovation initiative.” 

As a result, four challenges were identified. From equipment production methods to the comfort of flight crews and passengers, these challenges range from the use of more responsible materials to improved maintenance and in-flight connectivity. “We expect start-ups to come up with bold technological proposals to set up new cooperations and improve the cabin experience as a team,” specifies Grégoire Michel.

Next stop, Canada

Another program to be launched: Safran Explore Canada! With a more open approach to technological challenges, this program will enable Safran to gain visibility and identify a dynamic start-up ecosystem. 

Over the past few years, Canada has implemented an ambitious strategy to develop its aerospace industry and encourage the development of start-ups. Montreal is in third place behind Toulouse and Seattle. Safran has already established a number of R&D partnerships here. For example, Safran Landing Systems and Safran Electronics & Defense are also based here, and will therefore be able to benefit from the Safran Explore program”, explains Grégoire Michel. 

Therefore, via Centech, which is ranked among the top 10 North American accelerators, Safran is setting new challenges for start-ups : topics include artificial intelligence, industry 4.0, robotization, newspace, and, more broadly, decarbonization. Much like Safran, they have a lot to gain. 

What’s in it for the selected start-ups?

For the start-ups that are selected, Safran Explore programs will allow them to work with Safran on long-term and concrete innovation projects.And there are two other elements,” indicates Grégoire Michel. “We provide on-demand support to develop their business, via partner accelerators, Safran University or our agreement with MIT. We give them visibility and insight on the aerospace market. Finally, via Safran Corporate Ventures, we can play a part in their fund-raising efforts,” concludes Jean Dubruel, Open Innovation Director


“Calogy Solutions is proud to be working with Safran to improve the thermal management of zero-emission propulsion systems for the aircraft of the future. This successful technological collaboration also provides a showcase for our start-up in the European aerospace market. In addition to gaining solid technical expertise, this program gives us access to training and management tools that consolidate our processes.”
Jérémy Moriot, Director of Innovation, Calogy
“The Safran explore H2 program has allowed our start-up to take a giant leap forward. Above all, we were able to forge a close relationship with Safran Aero Boosters. Thanks to a pilot project and a clear cooperation plan, the program acts as a solid pillar for the future of our company. Moreover, the program has given us the opportunity to participate in several events thanks to Safran, and has given us access to economic and legal knowledge.”
Alex Plebuch, CEO, DeltaVision

Discover the Safran Explore Program

Discover the Safran Explore Program : 01 minute and 50 seconds