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The hottest startups in Paris

by Elijah
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The hottest startups in Paris

The search for financing is tough everywhere right now, as the economic hangover sets in from the pandemic. But for Parisian startups, the picture is sunnier.

The French capital has consistently outperformed its continental counterparts in terms of growth. Over the past year, nearly $3 billion was raised by French companies, or 25% of the European total, according to figures from market data platform PitchBook. Over the past five years, Paris has seen the strongest growth in funding of any European city.

The Parisian scene is diverse and home to startups working on issues ranging from deep space exploration to genetic modification of plants. There are “millions of reasons” to start a business in Paris, says El Mehdi Hachad, founder of e-commerce startup Elyn, ranging from a deep technical talent pool to non-dilutive financial support from the government.

To the top

Astride an electric bike, even long journeys are effortless. But unfortunately, electric bikes remain prohibitively expensive, while the expertise required to assess the condition of electronic components makes buying second-hand perilous.

Enter Upway, an online marketplace for professionally refurbished e-bikes. Created in 2021 by Toussaint Wattinne and Stéphane Ficaja, the startup buys used electric bikes, develops them and resells them with a one-year warranty. “The only thing that would tell you the bike had a previous life might be a few scratches on the paint,” says Wattinne. By promoting second-hand sales, Upway hopes to reduce electronic waste associated with e-bikes, as demand continues to explode. The startup has renovated 10,000 so far, and with expansion into new markets on the horizon, the goal is to reach 1 million. Upway has raised $31 million in funding from investors including Sequoia Capital and Origins, a fund launched by French footballer Blaise Matuidi. upway.co


Neoplants, founded by Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey in 2018, bioengineers a new breed of plants that purify indoor air by eliminating dangerous pollutants. Its first plant, Neo P1, is genetically modified to capture large quantities of airborne carcinogens like xylene and formaldehyde. These molecules typically accumulate in the tissues of ordinary houseplants to a saturation point, but the Neo P1 recycles them into water, sugars, oxygen and amino acids, increasing purification efficiency up to 30 times.

Neoplants has raised $20 million from True Ventures, Heartcore Capital and the Entrepreneur First incubator program to fund its vision. But tackling indoor pollutants is only the first step. The startup’s “north star,” Torbey says, is to help fight climate change by designing new outdoor breeds that can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. “This type of innovation has been present in university laboratories for decades,” Mora explains. “We’re trying to market it.” neoplants.com


Industrial processes emit gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. But Fairbrics, founded in 2019 by Tawfiq Nasr Allah and Benoît Illy, transforms these emissions into utility. By reacting carbon dioxide with a solvent, Fairbrics produces chemicals that form polyester pellets when bonded together. These pellets are spun into yarn, which is then made into fabric for clothing. The idea is aimed at a fashion industry that is urgently pursuing climate goals, Illy explains. But the same technology, he says, could be used to develop new sustainable packaging or even replace plastics.

The VC arm of H&M, the global fashion brand, is among the investors who contributed €6.5 million in funding. In January, the EU awarded Fairbrics an €18 million grant which, in combination with a Series A planned later this year, will go towards building new factories, obtaining patents and transformation of emissions into new molecules. fairbrics.co


Elyn is revamping the online shopping experience by giving shoppers the opportunity to try before they buy. Founded last year by El Mehdi Hachad and Hamza Sentissi, the startup raised €2.5 million in pre-seed funding from Headline, Sequoia Capital and others. The mission: to help individual retailers keep pace with Amazon and other e-commerce megacorporations. According to Hachad, part of the secret to Amazon’s dominance is the powerful combination of try-before-you-buy options and flexible returns for clothing purchases. But with Elyn’s help, any merchant can offer the same luxury to their customers. “Our job is to bridge the gap,” he says.

Elyn claims its try-before-you-buy service increases conversion rates by up to 30%, while its returns services convert approximately 40% of item returns into eventual sales, in the form of sizeable exchanges , store credit and other options. elyn.io

Omie & Cie

In the grocery business, the prevailing wisdom is that local is best. Omie & Cie, founded in 2021 by Christian Jorge, Joséphine Bournonville, Coline Burland and Benoit Del Basso, is an online grocery store focused on provenance and climate impact. Each listing includes information on the origin of the ingredients (as many as possible are produced in France to minimize the carbon footprint), as well as the packaging material and profit sharing. The startup now has 260 products in its range and has attracted 10,000 customers in total. It recently raised a €15 million Series A round led by 2050 and XAnge, bringing its total funding to €17 million. omie.fr


Donating to environmental causes can be as simple as doing nothing at all. Unlike traditional banks, many of which have links to the fossil fuel sector, the Green-Got neobank offers its customers a way to passively finance ecological projects. The bank charges account holders €6 per month, but channels interchange fees (paid by merchants every time someone uses their debit card) towards forest preservation and other climate projects.

Launched by Maud Caillaux, Fabien Huet and Andréa Ganovelli in 2020, the neobank raised 2 million euros in crowdfunding and a round of 7 million euros, from investors including Pale Blue Dot and Aera VC. Next step: helping its 15,000 customers invest directly in environmental causes. green-got.com


To explore the depths of space, humanity may need to rely on an age-old technology: sailing. Gama is developing special solar sails that convert photons of light into forward momentum, with the aim of making space missions previously considered too complex possible, such as traveling to Saturn’s rings.

Since 2020, Thibaud Elzière, Louis de Goüyon Matignon and Andrew Nutter have raised €2.5 million from Possible Ventures, Kima Ventures and others, with additional funding from the French and German space agencies. Its first satellite is already in orbit, but Gama is now preparing for its first trip into deep space. gamaspace.com

4.5.6 Skin

Noelly Acheson has always struggled to find skincare products to suit her darker skin tone. The reason is simple: most research focuses on the needs of lighter skin. To address this inequity, Acheson launched 4.5.6 Skin in 2020, alongside co-founders Imen Jerbi and Carlos A. Charles. The startup has developed products specially formulated for the needs of melanin-rich skin, from oils and serums to moisturizers and exfoliants, already available in Europe. The trio raised $1.7 million from Kima Ventures and various angel investors, who will fund further research. A UK launch is also on the horizon. 456skin.com


Quantum computers are expected to perform calculations beyond the reach of today’s most advanced supercomputers. Launched in 2019, PASQAL develops the special processors that power these computers using beams of laser light. Founded by Georges-Olivier Reymond, Christophe Jurczak, Antoine Browaeys, Thierry Lahaye and Nobel Prize winner Alain Aspect, the startup has raised 140 million euros from Temasek, Wa’ed Ventures, the European Innovation Council, etc. Companies such as Crédit Agricole and EDF have already been able to achieve modest performance gains by applying PASQAL technology to credit risk calculations, energy allocation optimization and other tasks. By 2024, PASQAL aims to deliver a prototype with all the advantages of quantum technology. pasqal.com


Foie gras has a rich culinary history but a turbulent reputation. The traditional production process, in which ducks are force-fed until their livers swell, is banned in many countries. But a startup, GOURMEY, has found another way to produce this delicacy. Created in 2019 by Nicolas Morin-Forest, Antoine Davydoff and Victor Sayous, GOURMEY cultivates foie gras and other poultry products in the laboratory, using duck cells. The startup has secured $60 million in total funding, including a $48 million Series A round led by Earlybird Venture Capital. gourmey.com

This article appears in the January/February 2024 issue of CABLE UK review.

Updated 12/14/2023 10:30 GMT: The amount of financing obtained by GOURMEY has been corrected.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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