There are lists about almost anything you can think of, there still are a lot of inquiries about “which are the best startups in X” (insert here the name of a country, Europe, or the world). That’s why, a couple of months ago, we decided to start small with a list of what are the best French FoodTech startups. For the size, as we all know, a good list should not take too much time to read while providing you with some great insights. Hence, the number of 25 startups.
We selected the top startups using the following method:
- We looked at all the French FoodTech startups which had raised capital in the last couple of years in each category and sub-category (this first criteria of “raising versus not raising” was here to select startups that others (investors) had already bet on). We also excluded the acquired companies.
- We matched these with our analysis of top FoodTech trends and the meetings we had with founders, retailers, food corporations, and investors.
- Obviously, we clearly factored a “COVID effect” to look for startups which were sufficiently equipped or could make a profit during the economic aftermath of the pandemic
- Finally, as we had much more than 25 startup names, we got down (with a lot of debate) to a shorter list with one simple question: Which are the top 25 names that we would send to someone looking to have a view of “what’s happening in France”? That’s why some sub-categories (payment startups, animal-feed companies using insects notably) are over-represented and some categories are almost, if not, void.
Below is the mapping, by category, of our French FoodTech Top 25, with some comments on the startup category by category (This list is not in order).
If you think we missed a startup or want to share your thoughts about the list, send us an email.
AgTech has been the first or second category for investments for the last six years. It is then fitting that the most well-funded startups and the most well-regarded internationally can be found there.
French AgTech leaders are:
- AgTech startups with a strong focus toward animal-feeding using insects: Ynsect, InnovaFeed
- Mycrophyt, a company focused on the production of micro-algae ingredients
- Naïo Technologies, a farming robot startup
- Agricool transforms freight containers into small farm units (which combined make an actual “farm”). Initially focused on strawberries, the startup is now diversifying its production with herbs and salads.
- Agriconomie, the B2B marketplace for agriculture supplies such as fertilizers, seeds, spare parts, workshop equipment, and crop protection products. Agriconomie’s goal is to help farmers to buy more easily, more quickly and at a better price.
- Sencrop enables farmers to connect their farms to have access to ultra-local weather conditions and make the best choices
French Foodservice leaders are:
- Tiller, L’addition and Innovorder, which compete in the payment services segment. While they offer different services do different types of businesses (from individually owned restaurants to chains), they all work in the direction of making the restaurant experience more digital.
- Swile (formerly known as Lunchr) which has raised €70M sooner this year is developing an app to let employees manage all their corporate benefits (with an initial focus on lunch cards financed by companies). It has a lot of room to grow both in food, other benefits, and new markets.
- Pazzi which develops 100% robotized pizza restaurants. The startup has opened its first restaurant near Disneyland Paris. If you can’t go there right now, just watch the video, it’s a vision of a possible future for a part of quick-service restaurants.
Much less developed in France than in other European countries (think of Delivery Hero, HelloFresh, Deliveroo, or Picnic), the delivery category is still full of startups with interesting value propositions:
- La Belle Vie is France’s leading online supermarket startup. It has grown exponentially before and during the lockdown period.
- Phénix, which aims at ending food waste with a set of solutions for the whole food value chain ranging from giving unsold goods to charities to putting a discount price on nearly-expired products
- Epicery connects urban dwellers to get food delivered from local stores (butchers, creameries, pastry shops, etc.), most of which did not have any online presence before
- Taster is a dark kitchen startup that operates six food brands exclusively on delivery platforms. It is already active in London, Paris, Madrid & Dubai.
- Kol is an alcohol delivery service. Coca-Cola Europe has recently invested in the company and the partnership will help it grow further.
As in other European countries, there is no lack of small food ventures trying to change the world with their products. However, few have made a name of themselves:
- Feed is the leading French meal replacement startup. Its products range from ready to ready to drink (pre-mixed drinks with all the nutrients to substitute a meal) to bars (both snack and meal-sized). It has grown rapidly, in part with the help of the controversies it created, in a country that pictures itself as the landmark of good food.
- Gourmey, the youngest of the startups in this list is France’s figurehead when talking about cellular agriculture. The startup aims at replicating foie gras from duck cells and hence help to avoid force-feeding.
- Hari&co markets meat alternatives made of legumes and other vegetables. Interestingly, the startup does not aim at replicating the taste and texture of actual beef patties or other meat, but rather to create compelling and clean labeled protein alternatives.
- Lactips has developed a bio-sourced, biodegradable, and water-soluble packaging made of casein, one of milk’s proteins.
While small, the French FoodTech retail category is interesting with well-positioned startups:
- Alkemics enables suppliers and retailers to better connect their data streams through its platform. It enables both players to have greater control of their data and of what is shared with consumers.
- Foodles which describes itself as the “canteen of the future” is both a smart fridge provider and a workplace meal caterer. Employees can order food in advance and retrieve it from its connected fridges.
- Connecting Food works on the issue of product compliance (according to gluten-free, organic claims, etc.) using blockchain.
We have only selected one French FoodTech coaching leader, as this segment is not very strong on France’s FoodTech landscape in terms of investments and new ventures. However, this startup is quite notable :
- Foodvisor enables you to track your diet. But instead of a traditional food logging system, you just have to take a picture of your meals and the algorithm will match it with ingredients and then the right amount of nutrients.
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