Wave around the world 

A project conceived and produced by BNP Paribas

Snootlab

Democratising maker technologies

Project initiated in 2010 at Toulouse

Snootlab takes technologies and creative uses that are developed in hackerspaces and makes them available to the general public, via a number of business activities. On Snootlab.com, the general public can access kits and shields for the main market players: Adafruit, Arduino, Sparkfun, and others. Teachers and public entities also have a dedicated space to help them to equip their organisations. Snootlab.net is dedicated to another very specialised product: the range extender. Already being used in Amsterdam, it increases the connection distance of digital operators.  

The pleasure of learning and sharing is a key motivator for the Snootlab team. A welding workshop in Rennes in 2013. © F. Jourdan

The pleasure of learning and sharing is a key motivator for the Snootlab team. A welding workshop in Rennes in 2013. © F. Jourdan

Snootlab frequently organises events. A hackathon in 2011: developers got together for a collaborative computer programming session lasting several days. © Snootlab

Snootlab frequently organises events. A hackathon in 2011: developers got together for a collaborative computer programming session lasting several days. © Snootlab

Marc Bruyère and Frédéric Jourdan, Snootlab’s founders, at the Open Hardware Summit (OHS) 2011 © J. Gibb

Marc Bruyère and Frédéric Jourdan, Snootlab’s founders, at the Open Hardware Summit (OHS) 2011 © J. Gibb

A stack of shields and expansion cards for Arduino, designed by Snootlab. © F. Jourdan

A stack of shields and expansion cards for Arduino, designed by Snootlab. © F. Jourdan

« Everything is hackable – in other words, everything can be used for something other than its original purpose! F. Jourdan »

History of the project

Snootlab was created in 2010, driven by the emergence of the maker movement in France. After a very successful career in business, Frédéric Jourdan decided to start his company with very little money, with the help of his best friend, Marc Bruyère. Their idea: to design and develop electronic products using an Open Hardware and Open Source approach.

In June 2010, they hired their first employee and moved into their first premises. On 15 November, the site listed its first two products for sale! But they needed money to grow. In April 2011, Frédéric and Marc started a funding round, focusing particularly on their friends who were hackers and developers. €100,000 later, Snootlab was able to hire a second engineer.

But 2012 was a difficult year: a lot of investment without much return! They completely reorganised the team and diversified their activities. It was a good call, as the following year the company had recovered its footing. It now has five employees, including two apprentices, and is brimming with projects for individuals and companies, as well as for local authorities.

100000 €
the amount of the first funding round
5
employees
9000
customers
« Starting a business is a way to change the world. »

Interview with Frédéric Jourdan, co-founder

How did you become a CEO?

I worked as an econometrician-statistician in the agricultural social welfare sector from 1999 to 2003. When there was a change in the country’s political leadership, I discovered the joys of being sidelined . I decided to join some friends who’d just created an infection control equipment startup. After 3 years, I’d had enough. I did a Master’s degree in marketing and communication, which made me want to start my own company. I really enjoy experimental, scientific and technological projects, and I created my business in the wake of the maker movement.

What motivates you?

Snootlab is much more than just a job! It’s a way for me to combine my passion for technology with my values. In its own way, Snootlab helps to perpetuate hackerspace know-how, and that’s very important to me. I’m convinced that the more we share our knowledge, the more we grow as individuals and as informed citizens.

And what are your plans for the future?

We want to create a production unit in Toulouse, but we still lack financial resources! We’re also planning to launch energy monitoring kits with Enercoop. More broadly, we want to continue to create intelligent and communicating objects. More and more companies are asking us to develop prototypes...

Flora Clodic-Tanguy

« Our goal is to ensure the long-term availability of kits and components »

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