– Sebastien Christian, CEO, Otosense
Sebastien has been working for 10 years on developing diagnostic/therapeutic tools for vocal fold pathologies, as well as hearing pathologies for private and public entities. He founded OtoSense in 2011 and it was the first R&D private lab dedicated to this field. Working on developing an autonomous machine for hearing, his last project expanded far beyond French’s border, providing people who are deaf or hard of hearing with an inexpensive mobile application that is able to learn the user’s acoustic environment and keep the user aware of relevant sounds through vibrations and notification to other connected devices.
Christian’s idea won him a place in the New Technology Venture Accelerator, a France-USA partnership that brought him to Boston in September 2013. He met with a researcher who was passionate about his idea and convinced Sebastien to move to the U.S. to launch his company. Sebastien then engaged French Tech Hub to create a U.S. entity and secure his relocation to Boston. As Sebastien also needed to move his family with him, he needed a business partner that he could trust and rely on. French Tech Hub created a Delaware C-Corp, opened a bank account and secured E2-visas for Sebastien and his family members.
18 months after launching, OtoSense has come a long way. The mobile app for the deaf and hard of hearing has been awarded a “Best App of the Year” at Mobile World Congress 2015. Plus, OtoSense won several other competitions, some of them driving expansion in Japan, and entered Red Herring top 100 North America ranking.
OtoSense now focuses on two vertical markets – surveillance/security and automotive – with pilot projects and deployments already launched with major carmakers and security solutions providers. A 3-year collaborative contract with the U.S. Department of Defense is supporting OtoSense’s R&D.
Otosense’s team is still small though, and has to handle product development, fundraising and lead generation. Since 2014, French Tech Hub has managed accounting, taxes, sales, administrative support and payroll management which enables Sebastien to focus on the core business. Sebastien also benefits from mentoring sessions with Xavier Wartelle, French Tech Hub CEO, who helps review the business strategy.
“I think I will never stop getting support from French Tech Hub, whatever expansion OtoSense has in the future. It’s a solid and experienced team I know I can rely on anytime for a wide range of concerns: this can make the difference between success and failure.” said Sebastien.
OtoSense’s software platform is based on a new generation of sound recognition engines that are able to identify and categorize acoustic events in real time.
The first application using the technology is a mobile app for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing that helps them be aware of important sounds.
OtoSense also developed a powerful and versatile sound recognition platform to support surveillance/security and machine health monitoring applications. This new platform has already been successfully launched in the U.S., European and Japanese automotive and defense markets.