Get to know the Team behind NanoNap. This week, we sat down with Alexandre, one of the cofounders!
What is your role at NanoNap?
I’m the CEO. I’m in charge of the long term strategy, recruiting, taking care of my team, and removing obstacles so they can work as efficiently and comfortably as possible.
Can you explain the concept of NanoNap in one sentence?
Improve the efficiency of sleep for night shifters and sleep-deprived people through a small and autonomous device.
How and when did you find the idea for the concept of NanoNap?
In 2014, I noticed that sleep deprivation made me fall into depression. I studied about how to manage my daily life to get the best of my sleep and of my day, and for a moment it was enough. But in late 2015, I couldn’t combine my studies and projects anymore. In 2017, I heard about a research project by the CNRS trying to improve sleep efficiency. My father was in charge of this program at Université Aix-Marseille and I immediately saw the potential for my use case. When the research project ended, they were looking for real-life applications of this technology which lead to the creation of NanoNap in 2019.
What is your special feature at Nanonap?
The first is our deep sleep improvement technology. We are able to vastly improve neural regeneration and get a 20% or more improvement in cognitive performance. The second is my team. I’m lucky enough to have been joined by some extremely kind and talented peoples who transformed this journey from a calm and lonely walk to an amazing marathon!
What do you like the most about your everyday life as an entrepreneur?
Getting up every morning knowing exactly why I get up. It is a very addictive feeling!
On the contrary, what is the most difficult thing to deal with?
The uncertainty. It’s a feeling that is always around. As an entrepreneur, you are in the frontline. You can’t be 100% sure about what will happen, and you don’t have the safety net of having a manager. You rely on yourself and your team and you keep moving forward but that’s not always easy!
Have you encountered any obstacles since the beginning of your entrepreneurial adventure?
Haha, a lot! NanoNap is my 5th entrepreneurial adventure and it keeps surprising me! But as long as you have a good team, there is no challenge that you cannot overcome!
How do you manage your business during the COVID-19 crisis?
We are a small team, which allows us to adapt very quickly. We use digital tools for our daily internal communication, which simplifies working from home. Thanks to social networks such as LinkedIn, we can still do market research and customer interviews. Of course, since we build hardware products, we had to adapt. We order fewer components and only the ones available in our country to minimize delay and logistic stress. But for us the impact is negligible.
How do you manage to reconcile your professional and personal life as an entrepreneur?
I think that I now have a pretty good work/life balance. Following 2015 and my resolution regarding my well-being and my sleep, I choose to always take care of myself even if it’s delaying my project a bit. Creativity comes from everywhere, except what you focus on. I rarely work on the weekend and I do a lot of extra-professional activities. I see my entrepreneurial journey as a marathon. If you try to sprint during a marathon you will pay it very hard. Keep it steady and you will run indefinitely.
What do you do to improve your sleep on a daily basis?
I try to go to my bedroom only to sleep. I prefer to stay in the living room for as long as I need to help my brain associate bed and sleep. When I feel stressed, I take a short shower just before going to bed. A few respiration exercises are also very efficient.
But, for a few weeks now I’ve been able to test our prototypes and get all the benefits of an improved brain regeneration!
What are the development perspectives for Nanonap?
For the moment we are preparing some real-life tests with a flight company. Next year we should be focused on healthcare workers and maybe some military applications. We continue our R&D on sleep and are looking forward to work on sleep apnea. Now we have to find some good partners to accelerate our development and maybe raise some funds. We are already lucky enough to be incubated at Station F, but we are looking to expand our partnership with some hardware investors.