To develop its world-leading 3D simulation technology, French startup SimplySim turned to Microsoft for advice and practical support. SimplySim gained access to technology, marketing networks and government funding for R&D.
|Program Fast Facts|
When French software company SimplySim was founded in April 2008, the founders had already been developing their innovative 3D simulation technology for two years. The company, based in Sophia Antipolis near Antibes in the south of France, also had several customers lined up, including Microsoft, leading French robotics solutions provider Robosoft and a major electronics firm.
This gave SimplySim the confidence to set its sights on International markets. In doing so, the company drew support from Microsoft France’s IDEES program which provides an integrated support system for high-potential technology startups, from product development to venture capital funding.
SimplySim believes that its technology provides the most realistic 3D simulation solution available today. In the world of robotics, creating prototypes for testing is difficult and expensive, particularly for smaller companies; while university engineering faculties often find it difficult to afford robotic hardware prototypes for teaching and research.
Real-time 3D simulation can overcome this problem by creating realistic artificial environments. Beyond robotics, other applications include traffic management, surveillance and monitoring interfaces, product visualisation, and games. In cost-constrained times, developing solutions in simulation before applying them to real world problems offers significant advantages in terms of time, cost and efficiency.
Microsoft became one of SimplySim’s first customers, engaging SimplySim to provide the 3D simulation for several Microsoft projects related to Microsoft’s Robotic Studio (which enables academic, commercial and hobbyist developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide range of hardware). These projects include setting simulation challenges for competitors in Microsoft’s new Robochamps contest, in which competitors build virtual robots; and creating a complete competition, involving a simulation of NASA’s Mars Rover, for the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the company’s annual worldwide competition for computer science students.
“When we first came across the SimplySim team in Sophia Antipolis we loved everything about them: the young and talented team, the great use of Microsoft Robotics Studio and their vision of how to use robotics to produce realistic, interactive and immersive environments and solutions,” explains Guillaume Berthet, manager of the IDEES program at Microsoft France.
“We took them into our startup program IDEES and BizSpark, and support them in various fields such as technology excellence, marketing and development.” Microsoft France’s IDEES program provides an integrated support system for high-potential technology start-ups, from product development to venture capital funding. “IDEES has encouraged us and given us a lot of visibility,” says the CEO of SimplySim, Nicolas Dalmasso.
“Through IDEES, Microsoft has introduced us to a lot of useful contacts, and also arranged for us to meet the developers of Microsoft Robotic Studio in Seattle, which was very useful for our R&D team.”
One of the key elements in the IDEES program is Microsoft BizSpark, a global initiative that provides free Microsoft software and professional support to qualifying start-ups.
As Nicholas Dalmasso explains, “BizSpark means we can access any technology which, for a small company like us, can mean a lot of saved money. Almost 100 percent of our software is from Microsoft.”
Another key element in the IDEES program is the European Union Grants Advisor (EUGA), an initiative led by Microsoft, HP, Intel and other partners to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local or regional government bodies to increase their awareness and understanding of European Union and national funding opportunities, and assist with the application process.
With help from EUGA, SimplySim secured a ‘Young Innovative Enterprise’ grant from France’s Ministry of Research, which provides an exemption on taxation for R&D spending. In 2008 and 2009, SimplySim was also recognized by France’s Ministry of Research as an emerging company in the ‘Concours National de Création dEnterprise en Technologie Innovante’ challenge which each year recognizes the most technologically innovative French companies.
Established in April 2008, SimplySim is a French company that provides professional quality real time 3D simulation, including both generic products that correspond to the most common needs and specialized services to address more precise demands. For more information, please visit www.simplysim.net