Sedipec: protecting against flooding

SEDIPEC is a French start-up developing connected flood protection systems to protect all openings (doors, windows, bay windows, air vents, garages, etc.) in the home against flooding.

Jonathan Flahaut, co-founder of the project, agreed to answer our questions.

What environmental issues does Sedipec address?

Our mission is to reduce the amount of damage caused by flooding in France every year, while helping to design the resilient housing of tomorrow.

1. Flooding is one of the world’s major natural hazards, and the most damaging natural disaster. (40% of the French territory is affected, 1 billion damage per year)

2. Despite numerous recommendations (cofferdams, sandbags, inflatable cushions, etc.), water continues to enter homes, mainly through doors and garages.

3. When a runoff warning is given, residents have very little time (often 15 minutes) to react, and current protection does not allow them to be reactive to the risk.

Facts and figures :

  • 40% of French territory is flood-prone
  • 7 MILLION PEOPLE living in flood-prone areas
  • 3.7 MILLION DWELLINGS affected
  • 2 BILLION euros worth of damage per year
  • 17 MILLION PEOPLE directly or indirectly affected by flooding in France every year

What solution does Sedipec offer?

When I explained my project to the Nice Metropolitan Council, one of the people in charge told me that their main problem was still flash floods, the effects of run-off. These are downpours of water that fall and slide over concrete, rapidly reaching downstream neighborhoods. The exposed populations have only 15 minutes to protect themselves.

I asked what preventive measures they were taking in the face of this risk, and one of the people in charge told me that they were sending an SMS push message to the owners of property exposed to the risk.

At that very moment, something clicked. I said to myself that if we were able to alert owners in good time by SMS, then we’d also be able to send this signal to my protection systems.

The idea of fire doors came to mind, and on the same principle, when the intelligent cameras placed upstream on the bridges and mountains detect a critical water level, they can also send a signal to my protections so that it engages before the danger arrives.

So we’ve rethought the swing shutter, giving it additional, complementary functions to protect people and property against flooding. These hermetically sealed shutters can be connected to the local warning system to provide permanent, autonomous protection. We have named this product INOLOCK (Ino = Goddess of the shipwrecked and Lock = locking).

We are also collaborating with OGOXE (also a GreenTech label holder) to connect our solution to their river monitoring system. The complementary nature of our respective services will give rise to fully autonomous protection systems that anticipate danger and prevent water from entering homes.

A Sedipec door

What added value do you bring to your customers?

We offer permanent, autonomous protection systems to anticipate danger and plan the best way to evacuate occupants. With our devices, we can protect a house in a matter of seconds.

Have you identified any competitors? If so, what are your competitive advantages?

Direct

We have 2 direct competitors in operation:

  • Torbau Schwaben GmbH : This is a German industrial company offering innovative doors and gates. The company has developed 2 anti-flood solutions under the Aqualock brand: garage doors and entrance doors.
  • Esthifrance : This is a reseller of German products, offering a wide range of anti-flood products to suit all situations

Indirects :

Our devices are multifunctional and hybrid, which means we have many indirect competitors.

The cofferdam has been THE recommended solution for reducing the vulnerability of buildings in France since its creation in 2003.

A cofferdam is a partition fixed in front of the house’s openings, preventing water from passing through up to 1 m high.

The main problem is that this device is not smooth on the wall, and is therefore easily torn off during a flood.

What’s more, this mechanism requires recurrent annual installation, so it’s not part of the daily routine we’re used to. It makes you dependent on your home, because you need to be able to install it in the event of a crisis.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

Our main advantage is that our devices are easy to install. All you have to do to be safe is close your shutters.

A shutter: 2 functions and 2 advantages

Its main substitute, the cofferdam, requires more stringent installation; you need to think about fitting it every time there’s a potential risk. With the cofferdam, you need to stay close to the building in case there’s a problem.

What’s more, our devices are “smooth” against the wall when locked. This prevents any imposing object from tearing off the mechanism.

They can be customized to enhance the aesthetics of buildings, rather than degrading them like competing solutions.

  • Our devices have to withstand 950 kg of pressure per square meter, which is explained by the need to withstand high pressure in the event of rising water. For example, to be NF-certified, a shutter has to withstand a compression of 15 kg per square meter, and top-of-the-range shutters go up to 150 kg.
  • They can withstand shocks of 600 joules, and withstand impacts from debris weighing 50 kg hitting them at 14 km/h. Current speeds recorded during floods are generally less than 20 km/h in the mountains and 10 km/h on the plains (unlike our cofferdam competitors, which can withstand 100 joules)
  • To keep the shutter as easy to handle as possible and avoid damaging our hinges, we take into account the weight of the shutter, so as not to exceed 40 kg. This is due to the composite material (fiberglass and polyester), which is stronger than steel and 5 times lighter.
  • Unlike our competitors, our products are rot-proof, resistant to mildew, sunlight, frost and corrosion.

What’s currently preventing Sedipec from completely filling its market?

Selling, selling and more selling, in order to start raising funds.

We’re aiming to raise 1.5 million euros to design new products, study the connected part for a local authority and hire 10 to 15 employees, including engineers, sales people and a CTO.

We will also be working with CEREMA, the French Sustainable Building Agency, to carry out thermal tests to meet the new RE 2020 standards, and certifying our products with the CSTB.

The maximum dilution for this first financing round will be 25%.

We’ll also be working with Initiativas to complete the BPI France I-lab application, with a view to securing up to 1 million in subsidies.

SOCIAL NETWORKS

FB : https://www.facebook.com/SEDIPEC/

Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/company/sedipec