Startup Studio

Introducing Imagination Machine

Imagination Machine is a startup studio: we come up with big ideas, recruit talented entrepreneurs to work on them with us, and act as a cofounder for the long-term. We provide initial financing, a powerful network of partners in France and Silicon Valley, and intense hands-on help. Occasionally we invest in startups that already exist and become operational partners.

Positive Impact

Driven By Our Values

We work on big ideas that improve our societies and planet. There are many domains where our values align with big economic opportunities…

Enabling healthy daily life

Democratizing education & smart media

Bringing people together

Doing more with less

Making renewable energy accessible

And many more…

How does Imagination Machine work?

We start with a list of startup ideas that have the potential to improve our societies & planets, and become big businesses in the process. Once we have validated an idea with our network of experts & investors, we recruit entrepreneurs to work on it with us as cofounders.

Using the Imagination Machine methodology, we will attempt to prove or disprove the viability of our idea within a few months. During this period we’ll pay a salary to the entrepreneurs. If we decide, after a few months, that we have validated the idea, then we’ll create a new startup together and Imagination Machine will invest the initial capital.

We have no plan to exit or sell our shares – our goal is to become partners for the long-term.

Do I need a project to apply?

No! We are looking for entrepreneurs without a project, to come work with us on some of our ideas. Of course, if you have a great idea that you want to pitch us, we’d love to hear it!

If you already have a project you are welcome to get in touch, as well! We are open to investing in pre-existing projects and becoming partners.

Do I need to be in Nantes to participate?

All of our startups are hosted in our office here in Nantes, until they get too big to fit 🙂
If you are not in Nantes today, you can still apply! If you are accepted as an entrepreneur-in-residence then we will ask you to relocate to Nantes.

Do I need to be French or an EU citizen to participate?

No! We are an official partner of the French Tech Visa, so if you’re not a citizen of the EU, that’s no problem. Anyone accepted as an entrepreneur-in-residence will be fast-tracked through the French Tech Visa program.

How long does the program last?

We attempt to validate our ideas in a matter of a few months. If an idea doesn’t validate – because we can’t find customers, or the market isn’t ready, or our technology isn’t ready – then we decide to end the project. In most cases, the entrepreneurs from those teams get recruited onto other teams within Imagination Machine. If an idea does validate, then we continue indefinitely!

Are entrepreneurs paid a salary?

Yes, we pay a small salary to our entrepreneurs in the early stages which allows them to live in Nantes. Salaries are not meant to be competitive with other job offers, since the primary compensation is in ownership of the company we create together.

Who is behind Imagination Machine?

We are proud to have a powerful network of investors and collaborators in Nantes working with us on all of our projects. Imagination Machine counts among its shareholders Julien Hervouet of iAdvize, Adrien Poggetti of La Cantine, Vincent Roux of Intuiti, Groupe Eram, Groupe Dubreuil, Lacroix Group, Groupe Armor, Banque CIC-Ouest, CETIH, Fred de Gombert and Nicolas Dupont of Akeneo, Pierre Antoine of Kinow, Guillaume Allain of Lucca, Edouard de Miollis, and more.