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Cyber@StationF: Retrospective of over 6 months of acceleration by Thales

Cyber@StationF: Retrospective of over 6 months of acceleration by Thales

Let’s look back at an ambitious program that defines itself as “the acceleration program for future cybersecurity champions,” in the universe of a French giant in the field and at the heart of the “world’s largest startup campus.”


The Demo Day of the 6th season of the program took place on January 16, 2024.

After being an internal project at the Thales Group, undertaken in season 2 of the Startup Studio, we have just completed the 6th season of Thales’ Cyber@StationF acceleration program with the Demo Day on January 16, 2024. This StationF program dedicated to cybersecurity has been managed by Thales since 2017, the year of the creation of the StationF campus on one side and the Thales Digital Factory on the other. The latter was created to drive the Group’s digital transformation.

At the beginning

But let’s go back to the beginning. In May 2023, we joined the circle of 45 startups (out of more than 450 applications!) that have been incubated since the launch. Among these 45, we can mention Yogosha and Alsid (acquired since by Tenable) in the first season in 2017 or in 2019 to name only the biggest references. The program’s definition does not lie: cybersecurity champions.

For this season 6, we started alongside Anozrway, Board of Cyber, Codenotary, Mindflow with whom we were during the first phase of the Thales Startup Studio at the end of 2020, OverSOC and rBlox.

The tone is set: We will have 6 months to find the right contacts within the tentacular Thales group, present what we do, catch the relevant use case(s), launch the PoC, and convince the final customer.

Step 1, understand the acronyms. SIX, AVS, LAS, MIS, TSI, … Fortunately for us, Gabriel and I are former Thalesians, we started the project internally, we know the organization and the acronyms (almost).

Step 2, get a meeting. Large companies don’t have the same time scale: one month is short. Following up two weeks later is ultra-fast. I may be exaggerating as a good Marseillais, but almost.

Step 3, launch the PoC. Goodwill, a well-identified “pain point,” and an urgent need are the keys to success.

A particularly complex mountain to climb. But that’s not counting on a detail that isn’t one: the coaches!

“We have never been challenged so much. […] The value of the program is really there.”

A team of coaches who carefully selected us will work with us. A great meeting with willing people who will share their knowledge of the group and their network to move at an unattainable higher speed otherwise.

On our side, the dream team consisted of 6 people: Yannick, Didier, Emmanuel, Jean-François, Romain, and Mathieu.

Plus the program team, available to all startups: Léo, Rodolphe, Jean-Yves, and Guillaume.

Just do it…

The acceleration

On our side, everything starts very quickly. A main contact point on the coaches’ side, weekly meetings, activation of the network here and there. We extend the fishing lines, we see what bites.

After several dozen meetings, many phone calls, some interesting leads begin to stand out. Despite the preconceptions, things are finally moving fast (or normally for a startup), Thales employees are sensitive to innovation, willing, and understand our issues and deadlines.

In the meantime, 2 of our coaches are evolving in their careers and can no longer follow us. But with the remaining 4, the reinforcement of Jette, who works with one of our coaches, Mathieu, it doesn’t slow down!

At the summer, mid-term point. We have to make a choice, focus on a project and move forward as much as possible on the one chosen. For us, it will be with TSI (Industrial Solution Testing) in the GBU (Global Business Unit) SIX (Secure Information and Communications Systems) (the acronyms…) on the implementation of a secure remote network access to test benches distributed among customers around the world. A major security issue but also on the evolution of the offer.

The teams are motivated, available, and shortly after the start of the school year, we test the technical feasibility. It’s a success, the solution is validated. Next step: convince the customers.

This leads us to January 16, Demo Day.

Demo Day and look back

The culmination of these months of work, we present our achievements at StationF on the Master Stage.

Master Stage

The co-founders accompanied by Mathieu, coach of the Chimere team, during the final pitch.

The following exchanges are very enriching, the project is well received, we plan other appointments. A final worthy of an ambitious program.

But ultimately, is it only the realization of a PoC? NO.

We have never been challenged so much. On all aspects, tech, business, com, again tech, once again business. We said we had done dozens and dozens of meetings: as many questions. The value of the program is really there.

And after?

Now, the foundations are laid. Next step: business acceleration. . As alumni of the program, we will continue what has been started, take up the other detected tracks, find new ones.

Thales believed and believes in us and we believe that Thales can benefit from what we are building. Thales Chimere, Chimere by Thales and since Chimere: the identity is diluted, but the link remains strong! A new name could now qualify us: after project, intraprise, spin-off, now partner?

We take this opportunity to warmly thank the Thales program team, the coaches, and everyone who has invested in this adventure@StationF, part 1.

Stay tuned for the next episode…

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