Deeptech Founders (DF) is a unique six-month program to help entrepreneurial scientists and engineers explore and validate opportunities to transform their research into a commercial product and to accelerate their startup projects.


Rémi Besson is the co-manager and co-founder of the startup Sonio and was supported by the DIM ELICIT to participate in Deeptech Founders. Here is his testimonial on the DF training, and on the continuation of the project.

Could you present your startup project ?
Rémi Besson : Sonio (previously Ainos) is a startup whose aim is to bring the benefits of advances in artificial intelligence to prenatal diagnosis. The first product is a real time decision support system which help the sonographer to focus his attention on what really matters when doing the fetal ultrasound diagnosis.
We rely on the physician feedbacks to propose the most plausible interpretations of what is currently seen as such as the next signs to look for. To do so, we rely on decision tree optimization, probabilistic reasoning, medical ontologies, and on the consideration of the context and the uncertainty.

What has Deeptech Founders brought to you?
Rémi Besson : Deeptech Founders allowed us to have an overview of everything that needs to be in place when setting up a startup. I found the program very complete, from the details of the shareholders’ agreement to fund raising, including the main non-dilutive financing, intellectual property, management quality, market access or how to properly determine customer needs before launching development projects.
We must also emphasize the personalized support with a weekly meeting (special thanks to Robert Marino and Marion Cassiau !) that always led us to ask ourselves the right questions to make our project grow.
Last but not least the program allowed us to meet Cécile Brosset which is now the CEO of Sonio.

A few months after the training program, how is your project going today ?
What are the next major steps ?

Rémi Besson : We completed the Deep Tech Founders program last April. Since, Cécile Brosset became CEO and we have been able to finalize the shareholders’ agreement. We made our first users researches and were able to confirm a strong need and interest from our market (obstetricians and midwives) with the need to make several adjustments to the first MVP developed during my thesis.
We also recruited several freelancers for key skills that we did not have in-house : a front-end designer and developer (Roberto Pasini), an experienced developer for our application’s move to the cloud (François Ruty), a CMO to pilot the clinical validation of our tool (Hélène Peyro Saint Paul). Besides, we are accompanied by API Conseil (that we met thanks to Deeptech Founders) to negotiate the IP with Ecole Polytechnique, and we also work with Strategiqual for the System Management of Quality (ISO certification and CE marking).
Concerning the financing of our startup we have obtained the PIA and French Tech Emergence grants with the mention deeptech. We were I-Lab finalist and also incorporated the Wilco accelerator : we apply next week for a loan of honor.


From left to right :
Managing founders : Cécile Brosset – CEO, Rémi Besson – CSO ;
Founding partners : Stéphanie Allassonnière – #HealthAI, Erwan Le Pennec – #datascience, Yves Ville – #KOLprenataldiagnosis, Julien Stirnemann – #databaseannotation, Emmanuel Spaggiari – #databaseannotation


Sonio’s story inspires you ? Applications are open to join the fifth cohort of Deeptech Founders, which will take place from October 2020 to February 2021.

**Curriculum is compatible with a scientist/engineer’s busy schedule**
**Application deadline: September 15th, 2020**

If you wish to apply to the Deeptech Founders program and if your project fits in the DIM ELICIT core technologies and/or end-user applications, we can propose you a funding : don’t hesitate to contact us at dim.elicit@pasteur.fr