Innovation with high impact, made in France and requirement for quality… export opportunities for NatéoSanté!
Best export start-up in the 2022 MOCI award, NatéoSanté was visited in early December by Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Attractiveness and French Citizens Abroad. This was an opportunity to meet with Thierry Ricci, director and founder of the company, in order to learn more about the company’s export development since 2020.
In order to define the context and the challenges, what is NatéoSanté’s export area today?
Thierry Ricci: “NatéoSanté exports in 50 countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania. We are starting in North Africa with a first hospital equiped with professional air purifiers in Rabbat, Morocco.
The entrance to these markets is through distributors, following the same commercial approach as the one we use in France. We meet them mainly at international trade shows (Dubai, Germany, the Netherlands) that we attend with Business France and through our involvement with the French Healthcare Association. We receive a lot of feedback from them.”
What are your clients looking for at NatéoSanté that they cannot find elsewhere?
Thierry Ricci: “They come to look for performance guarantee, it is our main goal for export, in particular towards Asia. NatéoSanté has experience in indoor air quality and purification. We deal with them since 2009. Removing pollutants from indoor air, viruses for example, is a very complex subject and needs to be treated by an expert. The design and the precision of our manufacturing processes allow us to meet high demands. Customers often ask for full treatment in a short time, and to make the quality of the environment accurately visible to the user.
Distributors quickly understand the health benefits of using our devices. And for NatéoSanté’s sales team, the approach is based first of all on our commitments, the performance, the scientific value of the results (such as the 99.6% laboratory efficiency tests against coronavirus)… more than on the price.
Furthermore, the innovation embedded in our EOLIS Air Manager air purifiers, and in our future products, is perceived as relevant because we are experts in this field. The company has the image of being ahead of its markets.
You have to know how to decode innovation. This explicability requires additional efforts to convince and support our clients: it is easy to make guarantees about IAQ, which is invisible in itself. This is one of the major axes for 2023, to make this invisible visible, by providing NatéoSanté technology to all professionals: in the medical and health fields, in nursing homes, but also in schools, colleges and high schools, offices for the tertiary sector…”.
Innovation brings value and impact!
In its recent report “Industrial SMEs, innovating to produce in France” (*), BPI believes that “the French industrial renaissance will be achieved through innovation”. To be more precise, what does innovation mean for NatéoSanté?
Thierry Ricci: “Innovation is plural. It is not only technological, but also consists in putting the customer at the heart of the reflexion, to innovate for an easier use and to improve the user experience.
For NatéoSanté, innovation is a source of values. It involves eco-design, which includes concepts that are important for our export distributors, such as sustainability and repairs.
Our approach is to always limit our impact in order to preserve human beings. And this is not just CSR talk: the company has just been upgraded from Silver to Gold in the EcoVadis assessment. We are in the top 5% of companies certified at this level.
In fact, innovation as we practice it, is to change the world in a virtuous way to live better, take better care of ourselves, recycle better, and respect the environment. Innovation without impact on our quality of life is meaningless! This approach requires heavy investment to meet expectations.”
The time is also appropriate to talk about industrial and French relocation. Is the made in France an argument for export?
Thierry Ricci: “Of course. The made in France is even an essential argument to sell abroad. A French industrialist has a positive image which refers to the seriousness, to the rigour, to the tracability. Germany, Switzerland, France… are countries where certifications are among the most rigorous. These points differentiate us from our competitors. In addition, if you are transparent and say “These characteristics are in our devices, we have used the best components with rigor, precision and extreme requirement on the quality of our solutions”, your interlocutor is receptive.
We do not discover our products by taking them out of a container after 1.5 months on a boat. All our air purifiers are manufactured in small series and in a short circuit in the Pays de la Loire region in order to control their tracability and meet the needs of our demanding customers. Each device is checked and quality controlled by the NatéoSanté team before being shipped. The same goes for our filters, which are individually controlled and certified. To ensure the ultra-tightness of our solutions, one of the key factors of efficiency, requires rigorous control points. Committing to capture and destroy virus nanoparticles with an air purifier requires a perfect knowledge of the subject, from design to manufacturing. This rigor at each stage, the care of the detail, we could not hold such high standards and offer such guarantees elsewhere than in France.“
People at the heart of the NatéoSanté business plan
If you had to summarize the three points that make NatéoSanté perform in export?
Thierry Ricci: “In three points…
- We focus on innovation with impact: eco-design, repairs and sustainability;
- We bet on the made in France in term of avant-gardist technology;
- We rely on the image of excellence that the French healthcare sector reflects!”
And what is the secret of NatéoSanté’s international expansion?
Thierry Ricci: “During the recent visit of the Minister Olivier Becht, several visitors told us that they felt at home. In one hour, these people understood and felt that the Human being is at the heart of our company project. This is probably one of the reasons, if not THE reason, beyond the quality of our products, why we manage to export to 50 countries while being an SME!“
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