Innovation is seen as the essential remedy to contemporary shortcomings: Energy transition, economic growth in western societies, well-being of individuals, firm-level competitiveness, fiscal outlay sustainability, meaningful and promising scientific findings, etc. As such, the financing of said innovation has become a particularly critical subject: one cannot seriously envisage an innovation economy without a complete and wholistic consideration of its financing. Similarly, one cannot envisage the performance of an automobile without taking the role of its carburetor into consideration.
In this context, Audencia has brought together various French and European actors from the innovation-finance landscape under the auspices of the “Finance for Innovation” Chair, created in April, 2018. In a spirit of joint production of knowledge and competencies among academic researchers and business professionals, the Chair is also the basis of collaboration with Early Metrics (1st start-up-focused rating agency in Europe), Sowefund (one of France’s leading equity-crowdfunding platforms), Fonds b (endowment fund dedicated to Social Impact Bonds) and the European Investment Fund (public investment fund tied to the European Commission).
The Chair is cemented around 5 themes which embrace both the challenges of highly-technological innovation, as well as the financing of innovations directly oriented towards social issues:
- The valuation of startups: analysis of components, trends, and particular idiosyncrasies of the valuation of start-ups.
- Social Impact Bonds, with the objective of better understanding the particular idiosyncrasies and implications of these new social innovation funding mechanisms.
- Entrepreneur-Investor relations, in order to better understand the relational mechanisms between the financers and the financed, as well as the impacts which this could have on innovation, success of the firm, etc.
- Crowdfunding, which remains a method of financing, concerning which, the drivers and success factors have yet to be discovered.
- The financing of Deep Tech, in order to characterize and understand particular idiosyncrasies of these fundamental – and expensive to finance – technologies.
It would be false to say that the Chair does not have the ambition to branch-out into other themes linked to innovation finance, and new methods of financing.
The Chair also aims to investigate these themes with key scientific ambition, strict and indispensable consideration for impact provided to the partners, as well as to society at large, with a concern towards making results available to the largest possible audiences, via future events, trainings, and other (innovative) mechanisms via which to communicate our findings. This is the start of a new adventure!
Benjamin Le Pendeven and Carine Girard, Professors at Audencia, co-directors of the Chair. “Finance for Innovation”