WEB3 incubator: three months after launch, start-ups present their solutions

30 January 2023


Good news, resources, and job opportunities: discover all the latest updates from the H7 community in your email inbox.

The result of a partnership between iExec and H7, the first edition of the WEB3 incubator launched last October has reached its half-way point. For the winning start-ups, it’s the ideal opportunity to demonstrate their solutions to the general public and share their advances. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the WEB3 incubator and Demo Day – the mid-term event – as told by Kelly Green, Web3 Program Manager at H7.

My name is Kelly Green, and I joined the H7 team in August 2022. Driven by a desire to help entrepreneurs and passionate about tech and its applications, H7 is the ideal environment. My mission? To support the development of the WEB3 incubator and the winning start-ups as they scale up. Let’s go!

Step 1: Qualifications

When I arrive, I talk to Julien Marbouty, Director of H7, and Francis Otshudi, Director of Enterprise Solutions at iExec. They share with me the incubator’s raison d’être: faced with the rise of blockchain and Web3 technologies, iExec and H7 have joined forces to support start-up companies in this field, in their technical challenges and the development of their solutions.

Francis tells me more about iExec. Their technology combines blockchain and confidential computing, creating an environment of trust and giving everyone back control over their resources, by deciding who can access them. Web3 specialists, they have been pioneers in blockchain since 2016, and there are many applications for their technology!

I also meet Edouard Pogu, Business Development Manager at iExec, and we discover the WEB3 incubator’s roadmap. On the program: group sessions, inspiration sessions, drop-in sessions and meetings. My priority is to bring together top experts to support entrepreneurs in their development.

But no program without a start-up. At the beginning of September, the call for applications begins. After analyzing the 25 applications received, the iExec and H7 teams make their selection. The choice is not an easy one, as the applications are qualitative, but we give priority to the relevance of the innovation, the viability of the business model and, of course, the technical feasibility of the project. In October, the winners take to the stage! 🎟️

First, I meet the Ziplo team, with Aurélie Drouvin and Clément Eggerwho won first prize at the Web3 Hackathon organized by iExec and H7 in June 2022. Ziplois a sovereign tool for file transfer and intellectual property protection. It’s a project with a CEO, Aurélie, and a solid team of 4 people who developed the platform in bootstrap. Aurélie is determined: before starting her own business, she worked in politics. Alongside him is Clément, a technophile since 1995. His product and management knowledge brings a lot to the community.

Clément and Aurélie, founders of Ziplo.

This is followed by the first exchanges with Wearspaces by Ruben Attal and Alex Frêne. Their ambition? Create an immersive fashion hub in the Metaverse.

Ruben, CEO Wearspaces (left) and Alex, CTO Wearspaces (right).

Ruben is a true leader: he knows how to get people on board. It was this aspect of his personality that convinced Alex and three other leaders in their fields to join him on the Wearspaces project.

Alex has been running his own virtual reality company for several years, giving courses in various schools, and his technical expertise is unquestionable. Ruben’s vision seduces him, and the adventure begins.

Finally, I discovered LAfricaMobile, powered by Malick Diouf. LAfricaMobile is West Africa’s first multi-channel, multi-operator, multi-country cloud communications platform.

Malick Diouf, founder of LAfricaMobile.

At the start of the WEB3 incubator, LAfricaMobile was already well established: 35 operators were working with the company, which is present in 17 African countries. By joining the WEB3 incubator, Malick hopes to experiment with new business models, where users could monetize their data thanks to blockchain.

Malick never stops. In addition to managing his company between France and Senegal and the incubator, last December he validated a degree from the prestigious American university Stanford.

The projects are very diverse, and the possibilities are numerous. I can’t wait to get started!

Step 2: The starting line

October 2022: the incubator starts up, and the first community events begin. The first three months are rich in content. It’s a busy time, and the start-up calendar is filling up fast! To provide them with virtuous material for their development, we are supported by some of the best names in the business .

In a few words: start-ups were able to meet with H7 partners; gain visibility with the Metropole of Lyon and large companies in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region; gather tips from Nelly Cornejo, Head of Adoption iExec, to promote adoption of their Web3 solutionsor understanding the key stages in the creating a Web3 community with Ben Kaltenbaek from Neopolis. Some start-ups even benefited from the advice of Jean-Marc Denis, Product Design Director at Meta. Does the name ring a bell? Yet it was he who imagined the entire interface of Facebook Messenger, as you use it today.

What we remember from these first three months is this figure: start-ups benefited from 40 group and individual sessions. Thanks to the commitment of our partners and speakers, they explored a wide range of topics, from communications and UX to legal issues and fundraising. These times enable them to develop the skills they need to scale up their business. Many thanks again to all our partners.

As the festive season approaches, start-ups are staying focused. Demo day is set for January 26, so it’s time to get ready. They will have less than 10 minutes to present their solution to the public. The pressure’s on, and so is the excitement!

Stage 3: in the starting blocks

January 2023: with Demo Day just a few weeks away, we’re boosted by the enthusiasm of the start of the year. With Edouard, we offer start-ups an opportunity to discuss their objectives and progress as the big day approaches.

With 15 days to go, the start-ups are making their final adjustments before the big departure, and one thing leads to another.

Malick and his LAfricaMobile team are making progress on the roadmap: the interface is developed and he needs iExec’s support on the Blockchain part.

Aurélie and Clément from Ziplo develop new functionalities and migrate the timestamp to iExec, with the support of Luis Carlos Castillo-Martinez, Application Support Engineer at iExec.

At Wearspaces, Alex encounters difficulties on the tech side. A fortnight before Demo Day, the team decided to redevelop the interface to make it more web-friendly. At the same time, Ruben is working on business development, forging links with luxury houses and VCs. On the marketing side, Alice (Marketing Director) designs the website. And they’re promising a surprise for the big night! I can’t wait to see it.

Projects are consolidating, January is flying by and we’re already on the eve of the event. Tomorrow, start-ups from the incubator will present their solutions to the public.

Stage 4: Rendezvous at the first bend

9:00 am [H-9]: It’s the big day. I take the time to review the day’s events. In a few hours, we’ll be welcoming around sixty people.

12:00 [H-6]: The start-ups have almost all arrived at H7. Some come from Paris, others from Saint-Étienne. I call Talla, he’s still on the plane from Dakar. Excitement mounts!

4:00 pm [H-2]: It’s rehearsal time! Primary objective: synchronize, test equipment, check connections for demo. The cables work, and so do the microphones and screens. So far, so good.

6:00 pm [H-H]: The doors of H7 are open, and the public begins to arrive. Everyone gathers around a welcome drink and the first exchanges take place. The Web3 community in Lyon is very close-knit, and we often see familiar faces from one event to the next. We’re delighted to see that some blockchain enthusiasts are loyal to the WEB3 program .

At 6:30 p.m., the lights go down, and the speeches begin: Julien Marbouty, Director of H7, and Gilles Fedak, CEO and co-founder of iExec, present the partnership and discuss the challenges of Web3. Francis Otshudi, iExec’s Enterprise Director, and I then present the incubator to the public.

Kelly Green, Start-up Manager at H7.

At 6.45pm, I start hosting the Web3 adoption conference. By my side: Nelly Cornejo, Head of Adoption at iExec, and Fabien Poggi, founder of Starton. Nelly talks about the adoption curve and how users behave when a new product or technology arrives. Fabien describes the obstacles to Web3 adoption that he has observed in his various entrepreneurial experiences: technology and education.

Fabien Poggi, founder of Starton, and Nelly Cornejo, Head of Adoption at iExec.

Finally, at 7:15pm, the start-ups take the floor to present their solutions .

LAfricaMobile opens the ball. Malick is an excellent speaker, his smile is infectious and the audience listens attentively. He begins by presenting his company. LAfricaMobile offers companies a simple communication and marketing solution, thanks to SMS. By 2025, 1 billion people in Africa will have a cell phone, 90% of them prepaid.

From left to right: Malick Diouf, Founder LAfricaMobile, and Talla Djite, Operations Manager LAfricaMobile.

How it works is simple: LAfricaMobile users share data via an online form, which is then shared with companies to send targeted SMS advertising. Users can choose the frequency of reception and the advertising themes. In exchange, they receive free phone credit. With 1 SMS, for example, the user recovers 30 minutes of phone time.

Data security and control are paramount. LAfricaMobile’s aim is to democratize phone credit by giving users total control over their data and how it is used. This data security is guaranteed by iExec technology, which Malick and his team have worked closely with.

Malick invites Operations Manager Talla to join him on stage to present the platform from the user’s point of view. The interface is very easy to use, as is the form to fill in. Via this interface, users can retrieve all the data they have shared and modify their marketing preferences. Malick and Talla complement each other very well, and their exchanges are fluid. After the demo, they give way to Aurélie from Ziplo.

Aurélie arrives on stage. Like Malick, Aurélie begins by introducing Ziplo, a sovereign file transfer and intellectual property certification service. The first version of the tool went online in 2021, and the whole team is currently working on V3.

Aurélie Drouvin, CEO Ziplo.

Aurélie shows us the platform. Very simple to use, simply drag and drop your files to send or store them. They will be kept for between 3 and 15 years, depending on the user’s choice. Every file that passes through Ziplo has a unique file fingerprint, serial number and timestamp to guarantee ownership. The time-stamping is entirely carried out using the iExec blockchain, ensuring the transparency and unfalsifiability of operations. Their values: ownership, security, sovereignty.

The Ziplo personal interface.

Aurélie shows us the personal interface, where users can view their transfer and deposit history.

The Ziplo process, identical to that of a bailiff, is facilitated by blockchain: costs are very low to enable users to file often.

Before handing over the microphone, Aurélie gives us some good news. Since October, Ziplo has been equipped with “WebProof”, a Google Chrome extension that allows you to make a deposit via the URL of the page and a screenshot. Time stamping is based on the page’s code and resources.

In other good news, Ziplo has just signed a partnership with the 5th largest independent law firm in France, for the management of intellectual property. In the next steps, the Ziplo team hopes to enable everyone to have their own intellectual property wallet.

Finally, it’s Wearspaces ‘ turn to present its advances.

Ruben Attal, CEO of Wearspaces, and Alex Frêne, CTO of Wearspaces.

The Wearspaces project was born a year ago. Ruben and Alex have found that new generations spend a lot of time in the Metaverse. For 52% of gamers, their digital identity – characterized by their avatar – is even more important than their physical identity.

Luxury brands are well aware of this, and want to make the subject their own. Problems: the shopping experience is very complex to set up, communication tools are very different from Web2 and brands have difficulty onboarding their community.

Wearspaces enables brands and designers to create virtual shops to sell clothing in the form of NFTs for users’ avatars.

Ruben shares with us the values of Wearspaces:

  1. Offering an immersive environment: enabling brands to move beyond e-commerce to virtual commerce.
  2. The notion of sociability: avatars can come from several universes, but players gather around their favorite brand.
  3. Develop simple tools: to engage the community, tools must be user-friendly, simple and secure.
  4. Eco-friendly: Wearspaces is committed to developing its technologies on eco-friendly blockchains.

Alex takes over. He is just recovering from the flu, and has had to deal with tech issues at the same time. Tonight, they present us with a preview of an interface, completed the very morning of the event! Alex shares with us the 3D representation of brand shops, and shows us how to browse and shop in the Metaverse.

Screenshot of the Wearspaces 3D demo.

After the presentation, everyone wants to try it out! Alex shares a QR Code with us, so that anyone attending the Demo Day can join him in the shop. Dozens of people pour in!

Now that all the solutions have been presented, it’s time for an aperitif with the audience. We did it!

A moment of sharing during the cockail, offered after the Demo day.

The results of these first three months are extremely positive, both for me and for the start-ups. I’m impressed with the teams, and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Let’s get down to the home stretch: I’ll see you in March for the program review 💛

Kelly Green


Des bonnes nouvelles, des ressources et des jobs : découvrez toute l’actualité de la communauté H7 dans votre boîte mail.