Officially born in January 2020, the WineTech ecosystem now federates 71 start-ups. Below is an interview with the head of ecosystem, Laurent David, a former executive director at Apple France turned start-upper and Bordeaux winegrower.
How and when was WineTech born?
Laurent David: “The movement was born spontaneously in 2015 thanks to a handful of passionate young start-uppers. In 2020, the organization was officially founded, and it now federates 71 young start-ups, twice as many as at the start. In an ever-more competitive global market, WineTech is betting on a digital revolution to bring a new dynamic to the sector and to reconnect with consumers. Our mission is to contribute to adding value across the wine sector’s value chain.”
Which segments are WineTech’s start-ups positioned on?
Laurent David: “Our ecosystem has both great depth and great breadth. Our start-ups are present at every step of the process. Right from the start, in the vineyards, thanks to robots, drones, systems using sensors and satellite imagery to decide when to harvest, etc. Then during vinification, with, for instance, the use of smart probes to measure the wine’s evolution in the vat. We also propose services such as traceability and developing wine-themed tourism, as well as on-line sales platforms. In 2021, our start-ups had €226 million in cumulated revenue, which represents 30% growth in a single year.”
Are investors willing to fund them?
Laurent David: “According to our estimations, our firms are going to need €137 million in funding for 2022. They appeal to both business angels and more traditional funds. For instance, Demeter, a management company, just launched the VitiRev Innovation fund with a budget of €50 million.”
What are your plans for the next few years?
Laurent David: “France is the world leader in WineTech, and our ecosystem is growing and becoming more structured, with, for example, last year’s creation of the world’s first start-up incubator devoted specifically to our sector of activity, Start-up Win. Numerous foreign start-ups are contacting us to take advantage of our expertise, contacts, infrastructure, etc. So, our plan for the next few years is to go international. In May, we’ll also be launching the Wine Tech Community in order to provide winegrowers and traders with access to our start-ups to be able to build solutions directly in partnership with them.”
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