Suresnes, June 29 2023 -
After working on a number of different projects, Stéphane Imbert decided to set up his own business, with the aim of democratising his passion for virtual reality.
Stéphane IMBERT, founder of LS GROUP.
After training at the CESI engineering school, Stéphane Imbert joined the Schneider Electric group in Germany, where he was tasked with rationalising production plants. On his return to France, after studying for a Masters in Virtual Reality at ENSAM, he joined the Research and Development department of the Stellantis group (PSA), where he was responsible for the virtualisation of physical prototypes.
2009, Stéphane has created Light & Shadows now known as LS GROUP.
2017, creation of PiXYZ, a software publisher to be sold to Unity Technologies in 2021.
Since 2021, Stéphane is involved in the development and financing of a number of start-ups, including UVR (spectral simulation of light), ROBEAUTE (medical micro-robot) and DEEPLIFE (pharmacology research AI).
The ambition to democratise virtualisation tools
"At the start, what was just a passion drove me to introduce virtualisation and its tools to as many people as possible. I wanted to democratise the use of virtualisation tools for manufacturers looking to improve the quality of their products. A few years ago, visual simulations were used to make strategic decisions", explains Stéphane Imbert, Founder of LS GROUP.
The adventure involved in creating LS GROUP was not always easy. Several challenges had to be overcome. The first was to put together a multidisciplinary team to support the group's growth. This team then focused on training employees in the innovative and evolving technologies of virtual reality, where training in this field was non-existent.
The second challenge was to raise awareness among customers and prospects, to convince them of the benefits of using these new technologies to improve their business. Finally, the most difficult issue for LS GROUP was to find financing in a new sector that had not yet been invested in by investors. "So we had to develop with our own funds for more than 10 years before the Metaverse became more popular and allowed us to open the doors to investment funds," adds Stéphane. However, resilience has been LS GROUP's strength, and thanks to its agility and flexibility it has been able to evolve while delivering accomplished and proven expertise to its customers.
While the challenges have been many, the key to success for Stéphane Imbert remains the patience and time taken to support his staff. The aim has been to offer varied assignments so that they can develop and take ownership of the project. Similarly with customers, LS GROUP has supported them in their technological developments, which has sometimes taken several years to convince them of the value of LS GROUP solutions for their products.
A French success story that's expanding internationally
Beyond the challenges, LS GROUP has had many successes, notably when the company delivered to the Stellantis group (PSA), the first commercial configurator with several million visuals on line produced on a single platform developed for automated production.
With the Dassault Aviation group, LS GROUP produced the first computer-generated images for their business jets. The level of realism achieved was enough to be featured on the cover of the New York Times.
"We're also proud of our early achievements, such as the creation of the NEO virtual reality headset, shortly before the Oculus, and the PiXZ software, developed in-house by another company," says Stéphane.
LS GROUP's objective is to continue its development, particularly internationally, while democratising its expertise by offering simple, accessible tools designed to support customers on complex, high added-value projects. LS GROUP's ambition is to double its workforce and sales by 2024 in order to become the largest European player specialising in virtual reality (MR, XR, AR).
About LS GROUP
Founded in 2009 on the initiative of Stéphane Imbert, formerly of PSA, LS GROUP is committed to developing applications that facilitate the adoption and use of 3D technologies. As a recognised player in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), LS GROUP is committed to enhancing the products and services of various companies and optimising their industrial processes. To date, the company's renowned customers include companies such as Airbus, Renault, Stellantis, Alstom, Saint Gobain, Hyundai, Toyota, US Navy, Bombardier Recreational Products, Arianespace, etc.
Based in Suresnes, the company employs around sixty people and applies its expertise in France and internationally.
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