B.Partners, artificial intelligence for traditional small businesses

Artificial intelligence isn’t just for big corporations. The technology can also handle time-consuming tasks for traditional small businesses, delivering very practical benefits.

The challenge

We all depend on traditional small businesses like landscapers, roofers, and pest control experts. And, with qualified professionals becoming increasingly hard to find, demand for traditional services like these is on the rise. This can lead to problems on the job. The figures speak for themselves: 75% of accidents involving roofers occur when they are out quoting on potential jobs at the end of a full day of work. And, despite high demand, these skilled and dedicated professionals often have a hard time growing their businesses. One of their main complaints is that tasks like invoicing and following up with customers simply take too much time—time that could be spent on customer retention and business development. Another area that is often sacrificed is rest, crucial to safety in some trades, and vital to work-life balance.

Startup B.Partners developed an all-in-one AI-enabled solution that helps traditional small businesses grow by:

  • Detecting business opportunities in real time.
  • Building customer loyalty.
  • Invoicing and collecting payments in just a click.

B.Partners x ExpressIF : Key figures

July 2022

B.Partners is founded

20 %

average increase in sales by small businesses that use B.Partners since September 2023

4 months

from development to commercialization


Helping small independent contractors

For B.Partners’ cofounders Sofiane Madani and Lou Maurica, with their PhDs in applied mathematics and computer science, helping the small businesses in their circle of family and friends is nothing new. The two have always been happy to assist with things like applying for grants and computerizing bookkeeping and other administrative tasks. One recurring theme among the people they helped was business development. Which is how they came up with the idea of a very simple all-in-one tool to help traditional businesses take advantage of every opportunity for growth in just a click. The founders really wanted to build a tool that would work. They started by interviewing around 300 small business owners. What they learned was that each kind of business is unique, and the type of business logic depends heavily on the trade.

The tool

From unstructured knowledge to a usable knowledgebase

In order for the founders’ future smart assistant to live up to its promises, they needed to model a set of complex rules. “Our main scientific and technical challenge was that we didn’t have a way to structure the rules,” Madani said. An expert in symbolic AI, cofounder Lou Maurica found the solution in ExpressIF®, which he had become aware of during his PhD and post-doc research on software security at CEA-List.  ExpressIF®’s symbolic artificial intelligence can use imprecise data (and, especially, temporal and spatial data) to simulate human reasoning and produce explainable results.

After an initial meeting with the founders, CEA-List’s ExpressIF® team rapidly modeled the natural-language interviews, transformed them into rules, and integrated them into the B.Partners platform.

ExpressIF® has been an incredible accelerator for B. Partners. We were able to develop and release our solution in just four months—unheard of in the deeptech space!

Rebecca Cabean

Sofiane Madani

Cofounder — B.Partners

Encoding professional skills with and for skilled professionals

B.Partners is developing an affordable smart assistant that small business owners, even those with minimal literacy skills, can use from any computer, tablet, or phone to ask ExpressIF® about the most promising growth opportunities for their businesses. The temporal or spatial data from an aerial image of a roof damaged by weather can be used to help roofers identify damaged roofs and prioritize jobs, for example.      It can also efficiently schedule customers and optimize travel to job sites. B.Partners’ business model is also unique. To keep costs extremely low for users, the subscription is very inexpensive. Additional fees are paid based on results.

The tool

ExpressIF® grows with users

ExpressIF®, now available as a standard software package, offers a wide range of features, including time series analysis, exploitation of spatial data, and explainable reasoning based on imprecise or incomplete information. And, because new features can be added to meet new needs, the software can grow with users.

In the case of B.Partners, we very rapidly modeled processes that would be obvious to a human mind, but that are hard for AI to grapple with.

We can also develop new features to meet the needs of other companies. To give you a few examples, we have used ExpressIF® to improve the security of public spaces, monitor and improve entire production processes from raw material to finished product, and enhance real-time crisis response procedures. Flexibility is what this kind of enabling technology is all about.

Laurence Boudet

Research engineer — CEA-List

ExpressIF® for business growth

B.Partners’ sales have increased 20% since the company was founded, in line with its customers’ average growth. And the startup is still working with CEA-List. The next challenge will be to integrate ExpressIF® into the tool and automate knowledge acquisition.  B.Partners currently addresses only eight of 250 identified trades, and this next stage in the development of the software will be crucial to the startup’s expansion. Another need the company has identified is wildfire prevention. Several government agencies have already expressed an interest in testing B.Partners’ software to help identify priority areas for mowing and cutting brush.


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    Sofiane Madani