Mariette Lefebve Interview

A Look Back On Publicis90: The Biggest Startup Challenge

Mariette Lefebve Interview

A Look Back On Publicis90: The Biggest Startup Challenge

Table of Contents

Publicis90 is the biggest startup challenge ever launched. It awarded prizes to 90 digital startups during the first ever edition of VivaTechnology Paris, an event that brought 5,000 startups, investors and businesses from all over the world to Paris from 30 June to 2 July 2016. Organized by Mariette Lefebvre and her team along with Agorize to celebrate the group’s 90th anniversary, the challenge attracted 3,555 applications from 60 different countries.

Anyone with a digital-related project was invited to take part, including Publicis’s 70,000 employees – 600 of whom took up the offer. Those who didn’t take part in the challenge weren’t left out, however, as they were invited to vote for their favourite projects alongside a prestigious international jury (including Facebook, Orange, Salesforce, Google, Tencent, BNP Paribas, General Motors, Renault and more).

Out of the 90 startups selected, 65 were external startuppers and 25 were Publicis employee intrapreneurs. Up for grabs for group employees: six months of acceleration for their project, funded by the group.

Find the list of the 90 challenge winners here:

Agorize: Hello – we’re delighted to welcome you to Agorize! Could you introduce yourself in a few words?

I’m Mariette Lefebvre, I work at Proximedia, which is a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, and I was in charge of the Publicis90 project, which Publicis Groupe carried out in 2016.

Agorize: What is the Publicis90 project?

Publicis90 is an initiative that was designed to celebrate Publicis Groupe’s 90th anniversary in 2016, and featured a call for tenders aimed at digital startups around the world. The project took place from January to June 2016 in three major stages: the application stage, where all startups were able to submit their project via the platform developed by Agorize.

Then there was the initial voting stage, which involved the 70,000 Publicis Groupe employees worldwide as well as a regional jury, which voted on another platform developed by Agorize in accordance with strict criteria. In terms of participation, 3,555 applications were submitted before the initial voting stage, and 320 applications were selected following the vote. Projects were submitted from 60 countries worldwide in a range of sectors and business activities, all linked to digital technology.

Then the final stage of voting was carried out by a global jury of exceptional personalities from the digital world, as well as key people from Publicis Groupe, including Maurice Levy [CEO], and from other companies, including Caroline Everson from Facebook [VP Global Marketing Solutions] and Marc Benioff from Salesforce [CEO]. They chose the 90 winning projects, and these teams were invited to the Publicis90 ceremony, which took place at VivaTechnology on 30 June 2016.

Agorize: What will happen with the winning projects?

The 90 Publicis90 winners will receive a year of mentoring from a Publicis Groupe digital expert, and will also receive funding of between €10,000 and €500,000 in the form of convertible bonds to help them develop their projects. Out of the 90 winning startups, 65 are external startups and 25 are from Publicis Groupe intrapreneurs – Publicis Groupe employees who were also invited to take part. Employees receive a different prize from external startups – they don’t receive funding in the form of convertible bonds, as instead, they have six months during which they will be able to work on their project full-time, funded by Publicis Groupe.

Agorize: What do you think this initiative has brought to the 70,000 Publicis employees?

I think that this initiative has boosted the knowledge of all Publicis Groupe employees worldwide because they were asked to vote during the first stage of the project. They were able to look at the 3,555 applications submitted from all over the world in a range of sectors, in different areas of business, meeting needs in different fields of digital technology. And 600 of them also took part in this call for projects as startuppers.

Agorize: What’s your favourite project?

My favourite project is The Eye, which is a project submitted by Publicis Groupe intrapreneurs, from Saatchi&Saatchi Canada. Their project featured an audio device that addresses issues faced by 285 million people with visual impairments around the world. It’s a device that describes out loud what the person with visual impairments can’t see – things that occur in everyday life. It describes objects, but it also describes situations. It can read a restaurant menu, read prices in a shop window, recognize faces and recognize situations like saying ‘Hello’, crossing the road, etc.

5 Step Guide to Corp Startup Engagement

5 steps guide to corporate-startup engagement

Sharing is caring

Table of Contents

Related Posts

Logo agorize

Agorize comes from “Agora” and “Rise” and empowers companies and people from all over the world through Open innovation Challenges.

Learn more about  job4ukraine , our initiative to help refugees from Ukraine find a job in Europe.

Our products

Agorize IDEA BOX


Agorize HIRE

Intrapreneurship program

Student challenges

Startup challenges


Digital change management

Agorize for Good




Our challenges 

Project Management

Guide To Innovation Management


Terms of use

Privacy policy

Follow us





Contact us

+33 1 55 43 79 44

Download your ebook

Please fill in the form and your ebook will be sent to your email address 🚀

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.

Send us a message

We will be happy to read it and answer to you as soon as we can.