10 terrific start-ups from Toulouse to watch

21 Jun 20186.13k Views

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Toulouse and the Garonne River. Image: Simon Biggar/Shutterstock

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Toulouse is flying high when it comes to smart technologies originating from a community of start-ups with a world vision for IoT and more.

Toulouse is a veritable powerhouse of science, aerospace, internet of things (IoT) and hardware and software technologies that, when fused together, set the stage perfectly for future household names to emerge in the digital space.

As Philippe Coste, director at La French Tech in Toulouse, explains it, the city and its suburbs are chock-full of young companies out to redefine the world of smart technology and particularly smart mobility.

“We draw heavily on our aerospace industry heritage and combine that with the talent from the universities, the various IT companies and the R&D that is happening here. There is a lot of new technology aimed at the B2B and B2C markets that is often more hardware than software.”

Coste has a point as the digital ecosystem of the Toulouse arrondissement has grown to foster a slew of IoT companies focused on drones, robotics, big data and cybersecurity, making it a solid tech start-up scene.

Not only that, but Toulouse is home to Europe’s IoT Valley, a cluster of more than 400 member companies, including 50 start-ups and partnerships with industry giants such as Microsoft, Intel and Samsung.

Coste told Siliconrepublic.com that the goal is to accommodate more than 250 start-ups by the end of 2018 on a 10-hectare campus entirely dedicated to connected objects.

The city describes itself as the world’s aeronautics capital and is home to the global headquarters of Airbus Group. It also has a space industry heritage and has played a role in major space discoveries.

A good example of how the local aerospace industry is powering entrepreneurship is the Airbus BizLab accelerator and an example of a spin-out from this lab is Uwinloc, which is included in the below list.

Economically, Toulouse has been the leading French city for job creation with more than 70,000 jobs and 15.2pc of new businesses created in the last decade.

Home to one of the oldest universities in France, the University of Toulouse, it is also the second student city in the country, with 25pc of the population being students.

According to La French Tech, Toulouse is the first French city for the annual arrival rate of highly educated workers, for R&D investment (€5bn a year) and for the number of executives working in R&D (40pc). There are 20 public and private incubators/accelerators in Toulouse and 163 R&D centres.

Not only that but the Toulouse region is home to 3,000 IT workers and 38,000 tech workers. Since 2014, €229m in funding has been raised by 83 start-ups.

And so, here are the start-ups from Toulouse to watch in 2018.

Adveez

Adveez specialises in the localisation of objects and people through IoT-connected solutions. It focuses on connected logistics for transport and services for vulnerable people. Last year, Adveez raised €3.3m in a funding round led by its founders as well as Plume Finance and M Capital Partners.

Brico Privé

Founded in Toulouse and based in nearby l’Union, Brico Privé is an e-commerce company that sells DIY, gardening and home improvement products. Julien Boué and Marc Leverger founded Brico Privé in 2012 and last year it acquired e-commerce platform Noova and electric tools company Racetools. It has raised €9.5m in funding to date from investors that include Ardian and Bpifrance.

BuyBox

BuyBox is a digital gift card platform with social payment technologies dedicated to brands and online stores. Founded by Aria Ardalan and Marc Guedj, the SaaS player has raised $2.3m to date in funding. BuyBox clients currently include such big names as E.Leclerc, Carrefour, L’Occitane, Belambra and VeryChic.

Delair

Delair creates drone-based solutions to enable enterprises to monitor and digitise their assets from the air and gather business insights from those assets. Founded in 2011 by Bastien Mancini, Benjamin Benharrosh, Benjamin Michel and Michael de Lagarde, Delair raised $14.5m in funding in 2016. Its technologies are used in more than 80 countries in various sectors including power, oil, gas, mining and security.

Demooz

Demooz allows punters to try a product out before buying it online by connecting them with customers who already own the very products they are interested in. Demooz was started up in 2013 by Fred Beasty, Geoffrey Vidal and Regis Vidal. The company raised €800,000 in a seed round last year, bringing total funding to date to €950,000.

EasyMile

EasyMile specialises in autonomous vehicle hardware and software technologies as well as last-mile smart mobility solutions. The company’s EZ10 driverless shuttle has already been deployed in 20 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, North America and Europe. Founded in 2014 and headed by Gilbert Gagnaire, the young company has raised €15.6m to date. Alstom and Continental are shareholders of EasyMile.

MyFeelBack

MyFeelBack is the creator of a smart survey technology that helps large companies keep their customer databases continuously up to date. MyFeelBack was founded in 2011 by Aurore Beugniez, Julien Hourrègue and Stéphane Contrepois. It raised €1m in a seed funding round in 2014 from Bpifrance, crowdfunding platform Wiseed and business angels including Exact Target VP Jean-Philippe Baert.

Sigfox

Styling itself as the global networking platform for IoT, Sigfox was founded nine years ago by Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet. Headquartered in Labège, a commune in the arrondissement of Toulouse, the company is building a network to connect billions of devices to the internet while consuming as little energy as possible. Currently operating in 60 countries and registering millions of devices in its network, Sigfox has raised €277m to date, including a massive €150m Series E round in 2016. Sigfox owes its speed of deployment to the fact that its network requires lighter infrastructure than traditional wireless networks, and only needs a limited number of sites in order for it to increase its network footprint.

Ubleam

Ubleam’s technology enables people to connect to IoT using smart augmented-reality technology. The technology is used by more than 200 B2B customers to add customer relationship management services to their products. Ubleam was founded in 2011 by Olivier Mezzarobba and Samuel Boury.

Uwinloc

Uwinloc is the creator of a connected battery-less tag for the tracking of large volumes of physical assets. The solution combines tags, beacons, a server and visualisation software. Uwinloc was recently selected to receive a grant of €250,000 that will go towards R&D efforts to advance the innovative project. Founded in 2015 by Eric Cariou and Jan Mennekens, Uwinloc has raised €5.5m from investors including Elaia Partners and M Capital Partners.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com