Portrait Published on 1 December 2020


Company : MicroEJ

Job : CEO and Founder

Year of creation : 2004

Often called « the Tiny Sibling of Android » for smart devices (connected or not), MicroEJ provides the world’s first and only Standard On-Device Platform for cost-driven electronic Things that allows for simulation and software development, served by over 20 million engineers in the world.

Atlanpole : Results Summary: Fred RIVARD, :

With over 40 million on-device platforms for smart things « Powered by MicroEJ », an impressive track record has been established. A growing number of high-volume manufacturers have been supporting our exponential growth in recent years as we target 100 million platforms to be sold over the next 2 years.

We find devices « Powered by MicroEJ » in numerous electronic products that surround us everyday including smartwatches, food processors, smart thermostats, electric meters, smart  lighting, etc. from industry leaders such as Zebra Technologies, Landis+Gyr, Jabil or Iridium. Another example : almost half the boats running the prestigious Vendee Globe sailing race are equipped with nke Marine Electrics multidisplays « Powered by MicroEJ ».

A. : How it all started: F. R. :

After IBM funded my PhD, I went to North America to become part of the core team that led the virtualization technologies for PCs. I then came back to France after completing my MBA and founded MicroEJ with the mission to democratize virtualization for the embedded world.

This technology, widely used in computing and smartphones, makes it possible to develop and prototype an electronic product on a simulated device (virtual twin of a real device), which greatly facilitates and accelerates the development process.

In order to break through the technological barriers we had in front of us, we spent over 35 million dollars in R&D, mostly self-founded, while relying on Series A funding from Innovacom at the end of 2011. Innovacom supported us in all stages of the company formationfrom industrial assets constitution, building our products around these assets, establishing legal and commercial structuring, etc. to  begin commercialization in 2016.

A. : A decisive moment: F. R. :

Our main competitors were Microsoft, Oracle, and Android. It took us almost 10 years to technically beat them one by one. In 2019, Google officially repositioned Android Things on market verticals  for smart speakers and connected screensto position MicroEJ VEE as the only standard solution for “Things”, making them more intelligent, secure, and especially low power consumption. The immediate impact was a great influx of new customers looking for a standardized IoT solution for their electronic devices.

A. : Some business accelerators: F. R. :

We were fortunate to find great partners to support us during our journey: the Pays de la Loire region, and in particular Atlanpole, which hosted us during our inception ; several research universities ; our bank CIC, and finally our investor, Innovacom.

Like any technology company, our greatest growth enabler is our team. We take pride in offering a working environment based on life-long learning and collaboration, allowing every member of our team to think outside the box and challenge the status quo around a rewarding goal : useful digitalization for the society.

With nearly 10 nationalities for over 50 employees, the excellence of our multidisciplinary and multicultural team allows for long-lasting relationships with our customers, which are, in fact, true industrial partners.

A. : MicroEJ’s implementation in Nantes, France F. R. :

Nantes is one of the 3 digital hubs in France and is highly regarded for its high employment rate, prestigious universities, quality of life and proximity to Paris. It was therefore an ovious starting point to begin our activity. Nantes engineering schools and universities provided MicroEJ’s early talent, still with us today. The attractiveness of the city, as well as our unique technlogy, allows us to attract the best talent to complete our teams.

A. : What do you have left to conquer? F. R. :

Our ambition is to become « The » standard on-device platform for electronic devices, in the same way as Android represents the go-to platform for smartphones. The huge difference between the smartphones market and the smart devices is that we are not talking about 1.5 billion units produced per year, but ten times more: 15 billion. In order to access international markets and develop our business further, we have opened offices in Boston, USA, Romania, China, Japan, and Korea.

A. : Essential skills for every innovation leader F. R. :

The ability to listen and detect weak signals allows us to adapt to technological changes as well to the reality of our customers diverse cultures and requirements. This market awareness is magnified if the leader has been able to build around him a caring and efficient team, with complementary skills, to compliment and enhance the energies of each one.

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