From athlete to entrepreneur episode 4: Clément Jacquelin, the maverick from Isère

“I wanted this world champion title, but I didn’t feel happier when I got it. “ Clément Jacquelin, 32, originally from Saint-Martin-d’Hères, could undoubtedly have had a career in biathlon as brilliant as that of his younger brother, Emilien, an internationally awarded and double silver medalist at the Olympic Games. Beijing this year.

freedom of creation

In 2009 Clément was crowned biathlon world champion in the 19-year-old category, then gradually discovered a new passion: 3D design and the creative freedom it allows. Subsequently he attended the training as an engineer in industrial engineering at the INP of Grenoble, continuing, at the same time, the practice of high-level biathlon. His goal is clear: “I came to this school to design innovative products and win with them. “ Supported by his teachers, he began to experiment. “With the Grenoble INP S.Mart platform, I was able to practice the trial and error method very early on. ”

March 2016, the French Biathlon Championship arrives in Meribel. “At that moment, I would like to inform you that I will be racing with a shotgun resulting from 3D technologies with futuristic interfaces (wood, metal, polymer). Simon Fourcade offers to lend me his rifle so that I can improve my skills in digitizing parts. “

Big push

Clément Jacquelin has set up a showroom with his custom pieces designed in 3D. © Thomas Richardson

The real springboard will come from another athlete: Ole Einar Bjørndalen. Clément was then a member of the Student Center for Innovation, Transfer and Entrepreneurship Ozer at the University of Grenoble Alpes, which supports students wishing to create their own business. He doesn’t hesitate to go to Oslo to meet the man he considers his god of himself. “It was the big push I needed. She gave me advice and development. She said to me: I want the same stick that I currently have, I want to change this element on the cheek piece, this piece on the front… When do we start? I answered him now! ” In two weeks, Clément produced the bespoke pieces requested by Bjørndalen. The latter, satisfied, signs a laudatory comment on the social networks which means Clément is immediately contacted by the Fourcade brothers for requests for particular parts.

“Bjørndalen told me that my great strength was ergonomics rather than the shotgun as a whole, and that I had to focus on that aspect: working on the shape of the interfaces, the shoulder plates, all the contact points. to allow the athlete to earn in peace. “

20 industrial partners

Created in 2017, the Athletics 3D company has been located in Corrençon-en-Vercors since September 2019, very close to the biathlon training tracks. Clément runs the business alone. However, it occasionally makes use of collaborators and has built up a network of 20 industrial partners. If he wants to keep the turnover confidential, Clément reassures about the good health of his company. “Banks, BPIFrance, most of the loans are repaid and there is enough money to repay the last one. “

A diversified business

Athletics 3D is, at the base, specialized in the customization of parts for the practice of biathlon thanks to 3D technologies. But gradually, the company begins to diversify its business. Thus began to be solicited by other sports federations, such as short track or hockey. “Last November, at Insep I was asked to increase the skills of the internal teams on additive manufacturing. The fruit of the meetings with the five sports federations has generated concrete projects. ” Among these, the preparation of athletes for the 2024 Paris Olympics. In which disciplines? For now it remains confidential.

Another activity that is being developed is to duplicate already customized equipment so that the biathlete can have a spare rifle, in case of breakage, for example.

Athletics 3D finally launches into animation. In particular, he designed 3D laser rifles for the 3D Print exhibition in Lyon. Since then, several companies have ordered them to host trade shows or promote cohesion among employees.

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