A new crop of awards for innovative start-up Aqua-Module, which, after winning the Innovation prize at the Marina High Tech trade show in Villeneuve-Loubet, has just been named First Prize in the Digital InPulse Nice competition organized by Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Interview with its CEO and founder, Julien Négri, 2018 winner of the Réseau Entreprendre Côte d’Azur.
Tell us about your company and its history…
Aqua-Module is an innovative company specializing in the design, development and marketing of aquatic concepts and products. Founded in 2011, the company’s initial rental and sales activities were focused on modular floating pontoons for water sports centers, events, construction and pyrotechnics companies. This activity now accounts for 85% of its sales, which will exceed 150,000 euros by the end of the current financial year. In 2017, when I left the plastics company I was working for to devote myself fully to Aqua-Module, I developed the first luminous and/or connected modular buoy to improve maritime beaconing and signalling zones. Patented, it is powered by a solar panel integrated into a watertight hull, responding to safety issues at sea thanks to controlled night lighting. It can also be fitted with specific sensors, opening up a wide range of applications, notably in water quality monitoring.
What do you think made the difference in winning these awards?
That’s a difficult question to answer without pretension! I think it’s the reward for a man who is passionate about innovation and his project, and whose relentless dedication is leading to highly promising results.
What are your current plans for the development of your company?
My priority today is to seize every opportunity for international development. I already have distributor partners in Mexico and Senegal. With the Digital InPulse 2018 award, I’m hoping to open up China thanks to a support program I’ll be taking part in, aimed at facilitating and accelerating exchanges with the Middle Kingdom. It’s also a question of finding a pilot port to experiment with lighted buoys for beaconing, to date mainly used for events, as well as investors with marine fiber to support the company’s development and structuring. My ambition is to develop an intelligent, autonomous floating system adapted to the growing volume of maritime traffic, making navigation easier and safer.
What kind of leader are you?
I prioritize harmony within the company, through the quality of communication and the motivation of my colleagues. I’m also an optimist, a fighter and a tenacious person, because, as they say, “nothing can be taken for granted!