XRapid sees a golden opportunity in Provence

XRapid, an English start-up, has opened its R&D center in Marseille during summer 2016

XRapid, an English company specialized in automatic diagnoses of infectious diseases, has chosen not to wait for Great Britain’s official withdrawal from the European Union.
The company has opened its R&D center in Marseille during the summer 2016, to continue receiving European research fundings.

The start-up was courted by several countries, giving it an array of options. The study tours organized by Provence Promotion, the city of Marseille and the Bouches-du-Rhône Department Council a few months before the Brexit vote convinced the company of the region’s potential in terms of markets and possible collaborations.

Following the opening of the R&D Center, a partnership will be formed with the Paoli Calmettes Institute.

The outlook for British businesses has become increasingly foggy since the Brexit vote. The specter of a withdrawal from Europe has plunged companies into uncertainty.

Given the business climate, XRapid decided last summer to invest on the European continent to reassure its Belgian, French, Italian and German customers and to continue benefiting from E.U. funding to support its research.

During 2017, the group’s holding company has relocated to the Netherlands, while the R&D arm of XRapid Industrial has been up and running at Ecole des Mines in Gardanne since August 2016 with three employees and five students.

And yet Provence was not even on the company’s radar at the beginning of the search. The “Provence in London” mission persuaded the XRapid management team to consider moving south, especially during the meeting with the President of the Departmental Council Martine Vassal.

“We needed to be reassured” 

The assistance provided by Provence Promotion helped XRapid get to know the local ecosystem. “We needed to be reassured and the agency showed us the right package and introduced us to the right people. They played a fundamental role,” says Jean Viry-Babel, CEO of XRapid.

Over the course of the year, XRapid managers met with some 30 companies, research establishments and educational institutions in Provence, including Ecole des Mines in Gardanne and K-Plan in Luminy. They also developed a partnership with the Kedge Business School business accelerator.

“Impressed by the master’s in innovation management for the healthcare industry” 

“I was surprised by the new master’s in innovation management for the healthcare industry at Kedge Business School and by the caliber of the candidates recruited. The Paoli Calmettes Institute and the ITER construction project were two additional deciding factors,” explains Jean Viry-Babel. The XRapid CEO immediately made connections with the PCI to initiate a leukemia research protocol.

“Our region has many tax advantages to encourage R&D. Thanks to our collective efforts, Provence is now on the map with entrepreneurs,” boasts Jean-Luc Chauvin, the new president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Marseille-Provence.
Since 2014, Provence Promotion has supported nine investment projects from the United Kingdom. They join the approximately 50 British-owned companies that are already established in Provence.

(*) Mission conducted by the ARII (Regional Agency for Enterprise Innovation and Internationalization in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) alongside Provence Promotion.