Meet a Founder: Sébastien Charles


Today as a guest we have Sébastien Charles — Co-Founder & CEO PosterLab — On a mission to Mapping the global research landscape in real-time.

Sebastien, tell us a bit about yourself, your story, why are you in Mainz? What do you do?

I tend to define myself as a “citizen of the world”. I need an international environment to thrive.

Over the last 20 years, I lived in the US, France, Belgium and since 2017 Germany (Mainz).

Bringing innovation to market is my “dada” like we say in French. Over my career as business developer / innovation manager / Corporate Startup Manager I got the chance to work for several companies active in various industries.

I am a “doer”. Give me a white paper, I´ll take care of the rest.

“Team 1st” means a lot to me. With PosterLab, I am where I belong. Surrounded by greats minds, 8 nationalities, experienced co-founders and a crazy and young dynamic team members of soft dev, communication and sales manager. I am the CEO, taking care of business related activities as well as ensuring the team has the right resources to achieve our goals.

I came to Germany from Brussels to take over a corporate innovation project for a large German “KMU ‘’ manufacturer active in the chemistry related market.

Since then, my wife and I are in love with the “Rhein”, the people and the Riesling, and, I launched PosterLab.

What is the big issue that you and your company are addressing and what value do you bring to your clients as PosterLab?

Research findings cannot be wasted because the current formats (e.g, PDF, ppt, doc, scientific posters, presentation..) mostly prevent knowledge transfer to happen within and across research organizations. There is too much at stake for an organization and the society as a whole (global warming and healthcare challenges to be solved fast and collaboratively). It costs the EU more than € 10 billion annually (PwC Study 2018, for EU Commission).
With PosterLab we believe that research findings must be visible and accessible. We want to accelerate research findings knowledge transfer by realizing the principle of FAIR research data´ s dissemination (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) as detailed in the Sorbonne Declaration (Jan. 2020).
The only way forward to accelerate innovation and for research organizations to show to their stakeholders the positive impact it delivers to our society.
How would you describe the 1-year journey as a Co-Founder of PosterLab?

Continuously “crash-testing” our solutions with our targeted audience (more than 60 one to one demo and interviews) allowed us to win our first research organization customers 8 months after we first put our idea on a PowerPoint deck that we pitched at the Rhur Summit.

All 3 PosterLAb “co-gründer” met by the Gutenberg Digital Hub in between October and December last year.

We did not know each other before but quickly spotted our complementarities.

Santi has a feel for and several years of experience designing impactful corporate and product campaigns within design agencies and as freelance. He is our Product Owner. Nicolas is highly knowledgeable in software design and development. Experience he gathered with his own start-up. As far as I am concerned, my experience building and leading international teams in bringing innovation to market for large industrial corporations helps to get business done.

Our cultural, professional and industry complementarity experiences helped us to set-up a scalable operational organisation & digital solution soon enough in the process: we design, test, develop, promote and sell our solution continuously.

Thanks to these processes, we could onboard and grow the team from 3 to 10 welcoming 8 nationalities in less than 3 months.

This is possible thanks to IT Inkubator GmbH which in May gave us a strong initial finance support to develop our idea.

PosterLab is based in Mainz at Gutenberg Digital Hub.How is it like for you and your team?

Our team likes this place. We have everything a start-up needs. Place, People, Equipment as we say in the business world. Several events are organized there given us learning and networking opportunities.

We also have an office by IT Inkubator / KWT Saarkand as IT Inkubator GmbH is headquartered there. Some of our team members are also based there. There is a very strong start-up scene there as well. So, we leveraged both places’ forces.

You have been in different hubs, from France, Belgium, and now Germany. Have you felt challenges or differences between ecosystems?

The start-up scene in Belgium is much more concentrated around couples of strong hubs (e.g. Brussels and Antwerp). This density of players fosters a lot of initiative, synergies and a very dynamic start-up´s scene. I do not know about Berlin but Brussels is a great place to start-up your business.

As far as the regional start-up scene, I prefer the term “ecosystem”, I am familiar with — MainRheinArea, Saarland, Baden-Wurtenberg, Hessen — there are a lot of great initiatives. Especially startup´s “Bewerbung” and accelerators (we are also in the Saarland Accelerator). We pitched in several of them and continue to do so. Very good visibility and opportunity for feedback especially as they usually are industry specific. As a startup, you do see the competition going on in between Landers to get startups to localize their activities there. Overall, I really feel that the start-up´s received a lot of focus and support in the region. We will benefit from these co-competitive ecosystems which are backed-up by strong financial investors and public funds network. Important as we are in the middle of a seed investment round we want to close by Feb. 2021. No need to go to Berlin.

Finally, what are the next steps or goals for the rest of 2020 and 2021?

Sales, Sales, Sales
Product, Product, Product
Money, Money, Money

On a very short term basis, We are officially launching the platform on Oct. 21st. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Daniel Rupprecht from Merck KgaA Register here

We have a great team, very good feedback about our solution. We want PosterLab to be a long term success.

We are in touch with several private and institutional seed investors. We still can welcome investors to participate in this seed round we want to close by Feb. 2021 as stated above.

More about Posterlab:

Meet a Founder: Sébastien Charles was originally published in FrankfurtValley on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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