Six food-industry gems in the FT 120

Six food-industry gems in the FT 120

To honor French start-ups in the hyper-growth phase, two new labels were created in late 2019: FT 120 and Next 40. To join that exclusive club, the most-promising French Tech start-ups must meet one of the precise criteria formulated by the Ministry of Finance: be valued at over €1 billion, have raised over €23 million in funding for FT 120 (100 million for Next 40), or show annual growth of over 30%.

While the second edition of those indexes has just been announced, these are the six agri-food industry gems that have earned those labels of excellence.

Frichti: Created in June, 2015, the company, which delivers house-cooked meals to your home or office, has managed to thrive in a fiercely competitive environment that includes giants like Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

The dishes are concocted in a dedicated central kitchen, and in September, 2018, Frichiti enlarged its offer and began delivering groceries too, as well as dishes prepared by partner restaurants.

Ÿnsect was hatched in 2011; the company produces insect proteins intended for animal feed and organic fertilizers. In late 2020, the firm completed a record €316 million funding round, which will be used in part to finance a new factory in the Amiens metropolitan area. The production site will be used both to raise mealworm beetles and as an agri-food-processing plant. In the long term, the ŸnFarm will produce some 100,000 tons of ingredients a year, and will be the world’s largest vertical farm. The factory is already under construction and should be operational by early 2022.

In the same sector, Innovafeed is also specialized in raising insects, specifically black soldier flies (Hermetia Illucens), which it processes into a protein-rich alternative to flour for fish feed, as well into oils for swine and poultry. Created in 2016, the company, which has two production sites in France, raised €140 million in late 2020. Those funds will enable them to build a production site in Illinois (USA). According to the corporation, construction will begin in 2021, and the site will be able to produce 400,000 tons of nutrients – including 60,000 tons of insect protein, a year. 

Microphyt: Created in 2007, the firm is specialized in producing and marketing natural active ingredients derived from micro-algae for both nutrition and skin care. The company raised €28.5 million in 2020 to beef up their equipment, as well as their workforce. In late 2019, Microphyt obtained the precious seal of approval from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency in charge of authorizing the sale of food, drugs and cosmetics in the United States) to market their first ingredient to fight cognitive decline on the American food-supplement market.

Seeds, fertilizer, animal feed, and even farming equipment: those are the products offered by Agriconomie,the e-commerce platform dedicated specifically to farmers that was founded seven years ago.

 “The company, which offers 300,000 items to its approximately 45,000 clients, now does 10% of its business abroad, essentially in neighboring countries like Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Spain.”

Inspired by existing business models, like Amazon Prime, the site offers advantages to members, like private sales, technical advice provided by professionals, market analysis, and of course, free delivery. 

Created in 2014, Ultra Premium Direct is an e-commerce player specialized in direct sales of premium, made in France dog and cat food. The kibble is only available online and is shipped directly from the factory where it is made, near Agen. According to the firm, they have been profitable since 2015, while continuing to enjoy annual growth above +50%.