Simon Baudry, founder of Luos tells us about open source embedded applications.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Simon Baudry: We are doing great, thank you! At work, we took the necessary measures, and in the morning I almost never get back home even for one minute after leaving to get the mask I forgot.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Luos.
Simon Baudry: My career was definitely going to be as a roboticist, specialized in mechatronics (mechanics, electronics, and embedded systems), and more specifically in electric motors and mechanical reduction in robots. I worked for five years in Aldebaran Robotics in Paris, which became Softbank Robotics after a while, first as a Hardware Qualification Leader, then as Mechatronics Design Engineer always on the humanoid robots Nao and Pepper.
Then I moved south, to Bordeaux, to work in the same field at the research institute Inria along with the startup Pollen Robotics. That’s where I met Nicolas. He introduced me to his incredible new technology we called Luos, which aimed to design, test, and deploy embedded applications incredibly easily for electronic devices designers and manufacturers. We then decided to co-found the company Luos, with the help of Emanuel, our third associate. I was leaving mechatronics for entrepreneurship, which was even more exciting!
How does Luos innovate?
Simon Baudry: Our software technology is applying the well-known methods of microservices, which rule the world of software and web apps, to the field of embedded systems. Just like Docker for software, Luos uses containers to help electronic devices’ designers and manufacturers to overcome the problem of monolithic development. Today, who writes a website from bottom to top? No one. We put together bricks like chat or payment modules and they work together. But it’s not the same yet for systems embedded into electronic devices, which are still awfully complex. It shouldn’t be so, and won’t be any more thanks to Luos. More than technological innovation, this is also a new methodology we advocate.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Simon Baudry: That’s a question which we haven’t fully resolved yet. We are a young startup (founded in 2018) and the pandemic crisis happened exactly when we began to gain our first customers. It was only the very beginning of our growth, and as we didn’t have any customers one year earlier, we had nothing to compare to. Additionally, our customers today are not big firms that had been impacted by the crisis. If that was the case, we would have been strongly affected for sure.
However, we have identified that our revenue would have been 30% to 50% higher without the crisis. The good news is that Luos grew along with it and got used to it almost from the beginning.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Simon Baudry: We actually feel very lucky on the human resources side: with Luos beginning to grow when the pandemic happened, we didn’t have anyone to let go. On the contrary, we began to hire last year. From the 3 co-founders one year ago, we are 8 people working in Luos today, and we go on hiring. The side effect of that crisis is that it slowed the recruitment agenda.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Simon Baudry: We are at the edge of recruiting a full team for the new Customer Success service. Everything is to be built yet, and we are very excited about this new activity at Luos. We have so many bricks to lay, and so many ideas in order to build a strong and efficient service. To us, the customer relationship is an open window from the outside to Luos. The success of our customers is what people will see first, and it’s crucial that we build true relationships to show them we want to help first. Moreover, a happy customer will be our best ambassador leading to new ones.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Simon Baudry: The grants we raised, along with the equity money, were parts of a seed round we managed to raise at the very end of 2020, in spite of the pandemic crisis. Today, thanks to this first round and in spite of the French government allowing us these grants, we decided we needed it less than many other companies and chose not to apply for them. For now, we are lucky to be running on our own.
Your final thoughts?
Simon Baudry: I realize today that many tough moments are yet to come regarding this pandemic, but above all how lucky we are to be going through it safely. Keep faith!
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