15 promising start-ups blossoming in Paris

24 Feb 2017

Image: Neirfy/Shutterstock

Check out these great start-ups from Paris that are guaranteed to put a spring in your step.

Paris evokes powerful emotions in people. It is romantic in the spring. It has beautiful architecture, the best eateries, art, culture, literature, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.

It is also witnessing a new revolution: the rise of start-ups led by ambitious entrepreneurs.

Silicon Republic CEO and Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea will visit Paris shortly (Thursday 9 March) for the second in her series of Salon events, so we decided to check out the city’s start-up scene. Last month, the Inspirefest team travelled to Munich, a success that will hopefully be replicated in its French counterpart.

At the Paris event, guest speakers will include filmmaker and director Elena Rossini and Global Invest Her founder Anne Ravanona. The event will be moderated by France 24 reporter James Creedon.

In terms of investment activity, Paris is closing in fast on London. Between Q2 and Q3 2016, investments rose by more than 200pc to $857m in deal flow, according to CB Insights. This means that French investment deal values in Q3 last year trailed the UK by just $62m.

Paris will also benefit from having the world’s biggest start-up campus, with companies such as Facebook and TechShop locating there. Financed by Xavier Niel and directed by Roxanne Varza, Station F, which was previously known as Halle Freyssinet, will be 366,000 sq ft – or, the size of the Eiffel Tower lying down – and will open next year.

The impact of Paris on the start-up scene, globally and culturally, is bigger than most people realise.

In 2013, Delphine Rémy-Boutang and Catherine Barba founded Digital Woman’s Day, and the event has since become one of the biggest conferences dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation for women in France.

Not only that, but the Paris Pionnières network is a start-up incubator for women that has supported more than 200 start-ups, including Kokoroe, Magic Makers, Scientibox and many others.

Here are the start-ups to keep an eye out for in Paris.


Probably the most unusual but compelling of European start-ups to emerge is Agricool, which wants to support the future of city living by growing fruit and vegetables inside shipping containers. The logic is that rather than trucks shipping fresh produce across Europe, strawberries, for example, could be grown in situ and they claim it is 100 times more productive than standard agricultural methods. The company raised $4.3m in November from venture firm Daphni as well as Jean-Daniel Guyot and Parrot founder Henri Seydoux.


15 perfect start-ups blossoming in Paris

Image: Frichti

Spearheaded by Julia Bijaoui, Frichti is a full-stack food delivery service that delivers lunch, dinner and weekend food boxes. Unlike players like Deliveroo, Frichti handles everything in-house. The company has raised more than €12m from investors such as Alven Capital and Idinvest as well as various business angels, including Céline Lazorthes, Céline Orjubin and Pierre Valade.

WorkIT Software

WorkIT Software provides competitive monitoring intelligence solutions that enable manufacturers and retailers to profitably manage channel issues and competitive situations. The company raised $3.7m in venture funding in 2016.


Aircall builds cloud-based call centre software that allows customers to build their own phone support network within their browser. The company has close to 2,000 customers worldwide. In September, Aircall raised $8m in a funding round led by Balderton Capital, with participation from FJ Labs.


Mention is a media-monitoring platform with an app that collates and monitors data from web and social media. The company was founded in 2012 and has 40 staff. It has more than 500,000 users and customers include Microsoft and Adobe.

Five by Five

Founded by data experts Kat Borlongan and Chloé Bonnet, Five by Five was built as a task force for innovation champions driving change in businesses, enterprises or within teams. Their data expertise has been sought by the World Bank and Google.


Talent.io works by placing candidates, their skills and availability on its platform every week, and allowing companies to interact with them during a two-week session. The company’s platform is used by players like Adobe, Criteo and BlaBlaCar. Last year, it began its expansion into the UK. It has so far raised $2.2m from Alven Capital, Elaia Partners, Ventech and various business angels.


Led by Charlotte Cadé and Maxime Brousse, Selency by Brocante Lab is a second-hand home furniture and décor e-commerce platform. The community-based company specialises in previously owned furniture items for dealers. It raised €3m last year in a round led by Accel Partners with participation from Kima Ventures and Thierry Petit.


Mirakl gives retailers and brands the ability to quickly launch a new source of revenue with their own online marketplace. More than 100 customers operating marketplaces in 40 countries trust Mirakl’s proven expertise and technology, including Best Buy Canada, Carrefour, Condé Nast, Darty, Galeries Lafayette and Halfords. In 2015, the company closed a $20m Series B round led by 83North.


Payroll management start-up PayFit was created last year by Ghislain de Fontenay, Florian Fournier, and CEO Firmin Zocchetto. Already sporting hundreds of customers, PayFit provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps SMEs to pay their employees.


Founded in France by Jean-Marc Lazard, David Thoumas and Franck Carassus, OpenDataSoft is a SaaS solution designed to make data more useful. It has more than 80 customers across 10 different countries, along with 30 team members. The company recently raised $5.5m investments from Aster Capital, Salesforce Ventures and Aurinvest, and is the only platform of its kind capable of processing data streams in real time.


Doctolib makes it easier for patients to book doctor’s appointments, and for doctors to easily handle bookings. The SaaS service completely replaces doctors’ existing booking solutions and costs €109 per month. In January, the company raised $28m in a funding round led by Bpifrance, with participation from Ludwig Klitzsch, Accel, Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet and Nicolas Brusson.


With the clarion call “making technology disappear”, Snips is a next-generation personal assistant for smartphones that uses artificial intelligence to learn your usage behaviour and anticipate your actions. The company has raised $6.3m in seed funding.


Zenly wants to make location-sharing cool again. It is a free smartphone app available on iOS and Android that allows friends and family to follow each others tracks on a private map. In September, it raised $22.5m from Benchmark and other investors.


Save will repair your broken smartphone within 20 minutes if bring it to a Save shop. It currently operates 78 different shops in French malls. The company raised $16.7m in investment from Idinvest, 360 Capital Partners and business angels.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years