VivaTech 2017 and the French startup scene

VivaTech 2017 summary for Stringcan

First Leaders Paris 2017 and now Viva Technology 2017, what’s next?

Recently I have had the oppurtunity to get involved with and immersed in the French tech ecosystem, attending these two events has really given me an insight into the energy and velocity now emerging.

“The tide has been turning in our favour for about a year now”
— Nicolas Dufourcq, Executive Director for BpiFrance’s Large Venture fund

Over the past three years, France has seen an explosion in venture capital investment which is up 70% from 2014 to 2016 with a record 590 rounds closed. In comparison, the UK and Germany have seen a period of stagnation with little to no growth.

Source: Dealroom.co. Excludes PE, M&A and buyouts. More info at https://app.dealroom.co/markets/countries/funding

France’s flourishing ecosystem has not only received strong support from private VC funding, but public too. BpiFrance, the country’s state investment bank, takes a leading role as the France’s largest venture fund, investing 191m in 53 startups in 2016. Simultaneously, the French government is now offering French Tech Ticket and French Tech Visas to further aide their mission of becoming an international innovation destination.

So we’ve gathered France is promising, but what was VivaTech about?

There are some exciting days ahead for the exuberant French tech sector and Vivatech, like France was a melting pot of ideas, enterprise, creativity and innovation.

From the 15th to 17th of June the Paris Expo welcomed 68,000 attendees, 6,000 startups and 1,500 investors. There were 8 stages hosting 500 speakers — with the highlights including Eric Schimdt from Alphabet, Daniel Zhang from Alibaba and even a visit from the new French President Emmanuel Macron all sharing their vision of future societal and economic impact of digitisation.

Macron, with Recast.ai discussing the future of French tech

The sprawling conference featured endless start up stands, dancing robobts, drones, VR demos and product prototypes during the conference — all of this and much more to give visitors a glimpse into an exciting digital future.

What was Stringcan, Cisco and I doing there?

IoT for business stage

I was at VivaTech covering social media for Stringcan, who worked with Cisco and 32 Internet of Things startups. 23 startups of which built low fidelity prototypes to helps solve a specifc problems for one of the clients. Cisco’s clients included Nexity, Carrefour, Airbus, Manpower and Norauto; each proposed a problem and use-case such as Airbus, challenging startups to guide helicopter landing with un-trained staff in dangerous conditions.

Each startup had two days to progress from design thinker primer to prototype, they had Cisco DevNet experts and Stringcan team members helping to refine ideas and prepare for their pitch their lo-fi prototype in front of a panel of experts. The high standard of quality startups made for some fierce competition and creative solutions.

And the winners of their respective categories were…

Smart Building — Scanalytics
Supply Chain — Pzartech
Retail — MishiPay
Mushin App — honourary winners (left), Scanalytics (centre left), Pzartech (centre right), MishiPay (right)

The three winners along with eight others got a chance to work closely with Cisco for a month afterward to advance their prototype and integrate it into compatible systems. The best companies have an opportunity to develop a deeper working relationship with Cisco.

The design thinking primer and corporate collaboration at VivaTech created an environment for startups to network with potential customers whilst also allowing them to reframe and refine their product’s use-cases, capabilities and competitive advantage.

A more collaborative corporate-startup future…

Cisco are a very active player in the corporate-startup space, their IoT for business stand at VivaTech was a display of that. They recognise the value of corporate-startup collaboration as an innovation input and use it to keep up with the cutting edge new technologies.

Cisco’s IoT for business lab aimed to:

“revolutionize the corporate world while bringing new solutions to market to improve performance and productivity”
Cisco France.
Stringcan founder; Jason McDonald during design thinking primer

There is also a broader trend at hand, moving away from traditionally corporate closed, top-down research and development toward a more open, collaborative, bottom-up innovation approach as taken by companies like Cisco. This more pluralist approach brings a new and refreshing perspective, new skills and culture. Likewise however, startups can gain expertise, economies of scale, funding and networks.

Overall howver, I had a great time working with the Stringcan team; Alessandro Bordoli, John, Sabri and Joel. I thank them for making me feel like a valuable part of the team. And a HUGE thank you to Jason McDonald for taking a chance on me.

Group picture.

The 32 participating startups are listed below.

  • Augmate : Augmate is a device management service-layer platform for connected glasses
  • Azendoo : Collaborative team task management / work tracking solution
  • Bag-Era : IoT middleware facilitating the management of heterogeneous machines and clients
  • Carto : Predicting the key insights underlying the location data in our world.
  • Conitiv : An AI company that offers breakthrough visual search & image recognition to offer the optimal Omni-canal shopping experience to their customers
  • Copsonic : The standard for contactless communication & connectivity by ultrasounds
  • Cowork.io : Flexoffice management platform
  • Cyclopus : Cyclopus develops miniature 3D cameras for mobile and consumer electronics manufacturers.
  • ForePaaS : The fastest tool to build analytics application
  • GlassUp : We have developed augmented reality glasses
  • Green Communication : Green PI is a plug and play wireless Internet infrastructure that can be deployed on demand wherever connectivity is needed.
  • Hoxton : Hoxton Analytics’ market leading technology provides 95% footfall accuracy and is 80% accurate at identifying gender
  • Irlynx : Irlynx designs & sells advanced human activity sensing modules — people counting through thermal sensors
  • Jobbers : Digital concierge services
  • JulieDesk : Personal assistant automatically organizing meeting rooms for you
  • LaBuro : Laburo connects nomadic professionnals to inspiring spaces and projects.
  • Mapwize : Indoor GPS / Mobile wayfinding solution
  • MishiPay : MishiPay’s app allows shoppers to self-scan and pay for any item in the store and simply walk out with it
  • Oyalight : Manufacturer of connected LED luminaires for digital ceiling
  • PredictiveLayer : Automated predictive analytics. Leveraging Location-Data & IoT.
  • Proximi.io : Proximi.io is the only technology-agnostic platform that combines all major mobile positioning technologies under one umbrella
  • Pzartech : Pzartech contributes to reducing downtime through mechanical spare parts recognition.
  • RealWear : Industrial head-mounted tablet
  • Recast.ai : The collaborative platform to build, train, deploy and monitor intelligent bots for developers
  • Scanalytics : Scanalytics is a sensor-based engagement and analytics platform for physical spaces
  • SensingLabs : LoRa indoor & outdoor sensor provider
  • Sentryo : Industrial Control Systems: Control-Command (SCADA) networks security
  • SharingCloud : French leader of workplaces digitalisation (room booking, wayfinding, digital signage…)
  • SpinalCom : SPINALCOM enables rapid design & deployment of Smart Applications for the occupants, owners & operators of today’s & tomorrow’s buildings
  • Tellmeplus : Providing on-site, edge computing enabled predictive maintenance for industrial customers
  • Wakeo : Wakeo is the one-stop shop for shippers to manage all their freight operations.
  • Zbre : IoT smart building platform to configure, supervize & manage devices & services