We talked to Jean Viry-Babel of xRapid Group about its mission to improve people’s lives
through Artificial Intelligence applications and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jean Viry-Babel: As a very high-risk person, I had to stay secluded and separated from my family for a long time. I was fortunate enough to get both of my Pfizer BioNTech injections, and I can therefore see the end of the tunnel. It’s a relief to know that better times are coming our way soon.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded xRapid Group.
Jean Viry-Babel: After several years in Advertising and Banking in London, Professor David Mendels, Lord Jim Knight, and I started xRapid Group in collaboration with Apple about five years ago.
How does xRapid Group innovate?
Jean Viry-Babel: The mission at xRapid is improving people’s lives by applying AI to areas of microscopy that have yet to be fully realized. We apply this to all of the research, development, and prototyping that we do. We see a missing link in the world, a space for a product that would improve many people’s lives and take it upon ourselves to develop, to create something that would fill that gap. We pitch our ideas within the team, and then we proceed with rapidly developing a prototype. From there, we can see what is possible and how long it will take to bring it to fruition. Afterward, it is full steam ahead with working on the product to bring it to the world as quickly as possible and to ensure that it is fully functioning, innovative, and serves to improve people’s lives for the better.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jean Viry-Babel: It has been difficult, as I am sure many businesses can agree, but we have been grateful for the French government has helped with loans and furlow schemes. Our turnover is finally now back to where it was in March of 2020.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jean Viry-Babel: In France, we were able to maintain all of the jobs in our team, but in the US, we had to downsize. It was hard because we were really starting to grow there and had to make the hard decision to keep our team small.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jean Viry-Babel: It was extremely difficult to move our client to an online management-only system as we are dealing mostly with traditional businesses like labs. Zoom has been a lifeline for all of us and has kept us in regular contact with our clients, maintaining our business.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jean Viry-Babel: Yes, we did benefit from an unsecured loan from the French government.
Your final thoughts?
Jean Viry-Babel: This pandemic has taught us all to be patient and more resilient. In the end, I think it brought us closer as a company.