16 February 2018
Exonetik on a Business Mission in Germany // Sherbrooke International
Auteur : Sherbrooke Innopole
As part of the Sherbrooke International program, selected Sherbrooke businesses have received direct support for their development outside Québec. Sherbrooke International is proud to encourage and support Sherbrooke businesses to shine internationally. After each of these significant projects, participants are invited to share their experiences through a blog post.
January 20 to 25, 2018, Josée Carignan, Strategy and Business Development Manager, and Pascal Larose, CEO of Exonetik, took part in a mission in Germany. They have shared their experience:
International from the start
Founded in 2013, Exonetik designs, develops, and manufactures magnetorheological fluid actuators to activate equipment and obtain functionalities that weren’t possible before. In the aerospace, automobile, and medical sectors, our business model is based on developing custom products by collaborating with leaders in these sectors, who will market the products in return for a licence. Therefore, to support our current growth and vision, we want to continue associating with world leaders, whatever their geographic location.
The automobile sector is undergoing major technological change
With developments in electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the automobile sector is being completely revamped. Hence, we are constantly analyzing this market to identify equipment with which it would be useful to incorporate our magnetorheological fluid actuators. We then target key partners who are already marketing these products to propose a co-development partnership. From this analysis, we concluded that Germany has promising potential. Indeed, the German automobile sector is known for its high level of innovation and competitiveness. According to VDA (German automobile union), in 2016, more than 40 billion euros were invested in research and development in that country. Given that many leaders in the automobile industry have headquarters and research and development centres in that country, it was only logical that Exonetik venture into this market.
After being introduced to automobile manufacturers by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, we were finally able to fly to Germany in January 2018. To spark interest among these German multinationals, we gave specifically targeted presentations.
The financial support from Sherbrooke Innopole facilitated this first approach, which proved successful as many prospects demonstrated interest in holding continuing discussions and have already scheduled further meetings. Our CEO, Pascal Larose, believes that it is essential to be patient and have a unique offering to conclude development contracts abroad. “Our approach consists in meeting senior executives who evaluate our offer from both technological and commercial perspectives to determine whether it fits their business strategy, and then having a second meeting with technical teams,” he explained. “It can take four or five meetings before a deal is sealed. It is a long process, but it is worth it, as a new generation of products with our actuators will be marketed. It would be extremely difficult to succeed if we didn’t cooperate with established automobile manufacturers!”
Exonetik currently has more than 20 employees, and is in the process of building a new factory in 2018 to sell actuators that will be integrated into fitness equipment, robotics, virtual reality, and exoskeletons, with more than 50% of its sales to clients outside Canada.
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