Aboubakr Laraki (Master’s Class of 2018), co-founder of Monk, as well as Joanne Kanaan and Anna Shirinskaya (Ph.D. 2017), co-founders of Omini, have been awarded the 2020 “X-Grant Silicon Valley”, financed by the École Polytechnique Foundation and the Friends of École Polytechnique, its sister organization in the United States. The two winners will each receive $50,000 and top-level mentoring from Californian investors and entrepreneurs.
Aboubakr Laraki, co-founder of Monk: an AI-based software solution for assessing vehicle condition and automatically detecting car damage
Civil engineer of École des Mines (Class of 2013), graduate of École Polytechnique (Master’s Class of 2018) and time spent at UC Berkeley, Aboubakr Laraki co-founded Monk with Fayçal Slaoui (CentraleSupélec 2018). Monk’s aim is to create transparency in the automotive inspection and insurance markets, and to enable various players in these sectors to increase productivity.
To do so, the start-up has developed a software solution based on research in deep learning and image recognition to assess vehicle condition. With 500 million inspections carried out in Europe each year, this solution makes it possible to automatically analyze the exterior of cars, every time they change hands. By taking photos and videos, Monk can detect, locate, and classify damages, but also refer the expert by providing repair rules and a corresponding quote. Created in 2019, the start-up works in particular with insurers, rental companies, and resellers, and currently employs 10 people.
“We are delighted and honored to be recipients of the X-Grant Silicon Valley. We are fortunate to be able to benefit from very high-level mentoring on subjects related to deep tech. This award gives us credibility and the financial endowment that accompanies it will allow us to develop our solutions internationally and especially in the United States, a market that we want to target as a priority”, says Aboubakr Laraki.
Joanne Kanaan (École normale supérieure – PSL) and Anna Shirinskaya (Laboratory of Physics of Interfaces and Thin Films – CNRS/École Polytechnique – Institut Polytechnique de Paris), co-founders of Omini: portable blood testing devices to improve medical decision making
Over the past century, life expectancy has doubled, leading to an aging population and an increased rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases, an unsustainable growth for current healthcare systems. Today, it is essential to create new techniques for early detection, prevention, and follow-up, and this requires new methods of blood testing suitable for decentralized and personalized medicine.
To meet this need, Omini is developing patient-friendly and immediate blood testing devices, combining the precision of traditional methods with the portability of connected objects. The start-up is thus developing a new generation of biosensors capable of quantitatively and simultaneously measuring various biomarkers from a minimum sample volume. Omini is also developing an electronic reader that processes the signal from the sensor and makes it possible to display and transmit test results. Today, the start-up aims to deliver various devices for monitoring patients with chronic diseases, starting with cardiovascular diseases.
“We are delighted and honored by this new recognition given to Omini. The X-Grant Silicon Valley will allow us to build a network in the United States, to understand the dynamics of the American market in our sector, and to consolidate our strategy of access to this market”, rejoice Joanne Kanaan and Anna Shirinskaya.
“X-Grant Silicon Valley”: a grant to pinpoint talented entrepreneurs and promote innovative ideas
The grant “X-Grant Silicon Valley” was created in 2013 and is intended to reward talented students from the l’ X (École Polytechnique) entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is designed to support the school’s work in entrepreneurship and innovation. To be eligible, applicants must present an innovative project involving a connection with Silicon Valley. Each year, two winners are chosen. They each receive $50,000 as well as top-level mentoring. The grant is financed 50% by the École Polytechnique Foundation and 50% by the Friends of École Polytechnique, the Foundation’s sister organization based in the United States, thanks to generous donations by alumni living in California. Omini and Monk join a community of start-ups with strong influence: PriceMatch (2013), Dreem (2014), Cardiologs (2015), Plato, Tempow and Meteo*Swift (2016), Decidata and SpotAngels (2017), Astraveus and Totem (2018), Lalilo and Tarmac Technologies (2019).
About the École Polytechnique Foundation
Created in 1987 by twenty leading French companies at the request of Bernard Esambert (Class of 1954), the Chairman of École Polytechnique Board of Directors at the time, and with the support of the Alumni Association, the École Polytechnique Foundation builds bridges between the business world and École Polytechnique, including its students and research professors. The Foundation is a recognized public-benefit organization that works to promote École Polytechnique. This status entitles it to receive gifts and bequests from both individuals and companies. The funds raised are directed to École Polytechnique programs, facilities, students, and research professors.
About the Friends of École Polytechnique
The Friends of École Polytechnique is a sister organization of the École Polytechnique Foundation. Its aim is to accompany the Foundation in its fundraising efforts in the United States of America. It is managed by a Board of Directors, chaired by Eric Setton (class of 1998). The Friends of École Polytechnique has been approved by the International Revenue Service as a public charity organization. All donations are considered deductible charges.