Revealed on February 20, 2023, the latest French Tech 120 line-up puts the most promising start-ups and future unicorns in the spotlight. Among them are six young companies that are very active in developing agri-tech and sustainable food with a French touch.
Over the past 4 years, it has become a major event. The announcement of each year’s new French Tech Next 40/FT 120 line-up promotes French start-ups that are aiming to scale up and become “technological leaders on a global level” according to the French Tech mission. Just in time for the International Agricultural Show, Agri-Tech and Food-Tech are well-represented in the Class of 2023, because six of the winning start-ups fall into those categories. Introducing Agriconomie, Myditek, La Belle Vie, Ultra Premium Direct, Innovafeed and Ynsect.
Technology Serving Sustainable Agriculture
Agriconomie is the first on-line store supplying farmers, with a catalogue of over 250,000 types of fertilizer, seed, equipment and more. Headquartered in the Grand East region (at Coole, in the department of the Marne), the start-up founded in 2014 announced a €60-million fund-raising round last November. That was a real challenge at a time when rounds that reach tens of millions of euros have become scarce. Above all, it’s a sign of the market’s confidence in this agri-tech jewel that may well become one of the 10 agricultural/agri-food unicorns the government’s France 2030 plan is aiming for. By putting transparency, simplicity, excellent service and proximity at the center of their business model, they have already attracted over 120,000 clients in five countries: France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The Guadeloupean start-up Myditek is developing tools for optimizing agricultural-production processes, particularly in the tropics. On markets that still have a lot of growth potential, the Caribbean and Africa, the start-up offers surveillance with drones and smart objects that are easy to use and adapted to the climate (including weather stations and collars for livestock). Connected to a piloting and surveillance application, the tools assist farmers in real time, optimizing their decision-making processes, optimizing their decision-making processes.
New Consumer Habits for Eco-Friendlier Food
At the forefront of the insect-farming market, two start-ups in northern France are standard bearers for tomorrow’s food sector. Innovafeed and Ynsect have both made it into the very exclusive Next40. The two companies really stand out in the class of 2023: the first, Innovafeed, for the over €100 million it raised in 2021-2022; and the other, Ynsect, for having acquired Jord Producers, in the U.S.A., in order to speed up its expansion on the American market. What the two have in common is: raising insects for… food. Could it be a way to meet the challenges of both global food security and environmental impact … and to invent the future of gastronomy while they’re at it?
And for gourmets who aren’t ready to bite into protein-laden insect larvae yet, La Belle Vie has been delivering fresh, high-quality foods to homes in the Paris region since 2015. With 15,000 products in their catalogue – nearly half of which are organic – the brand focuses on building bonds with its suppliers – farmers and artisans – which the company makes a point of selecting with care, getting to know and promoting. With over €42 million raised since it was founded, La Belle Vie aims to distinguish itself from “quick commerce” players through its eco-responsible, human-centered approach, while maintaining logistical efficiency, which is still the key to success.
Ultra Premium Direct, a small, dynamic company based in southwestern France (Agen, New Aquitaine) and specialized in sustainable cat and dog food, has stayed on the French Tech 120 for the third straight year. Their business model has found a market, with over 100,000 subscribers and 300,000 customers for its high-end, direct-to-consumer pet food. Opening brick-and-mortar stores and expanding into the Italian market are the challenges they will be facing in 2023.