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The Climb #1 - US expansion, the mobility war in Paris, every startup becoming a fintech and more 🔥

Hi all! Hope you're having a great week so far. Here's the first issue of The Climb, a bi-monthly rou
The Climb #1 - US expansion, the mobility war in Paris, every startup becoming a fintech and more 🔥
By Ghislain de Buchet • Issue #1 • View online
Hi all! Hope you’re having a great week so far. Here’s the first issue of The Climb, a bi-monthly roundup of what’s going on in the French tech ecosystem and beyond.
We’ll discuss US expansion, the mobility war in Paris and the great shift towards financial services among other buoyant topics. 🔥

French 100% online media Brut is targeting the US market
French 100% online media Brut is targeting the US market
🥖 Major funding rounds in France
> Vade Secure, a pioneer in email box security solutions, raised €70m to become a global leader and recruit 400 people by 2023.
> Brut, the digital media focused on social good and social media raised €35m as part of a B round to expand to the US.
> Cloud gaming specialist Blade (Shadow) raised €30m to boost growth and compete with Google’s Stadia on an estimated $6bn market in 2026.
> Prophesee raised €25m to accelerate the rollout of its neuromorphic machine vision sensors, bringing the total funding to north of €60m.
> Tech and media platform Welcome To The Jungle collected €20m from newly established Gaia Capital Partners to accelerate abroad and market new products.
> AnotherBrain, which develops a “human-friendly AI”, grabbed €19m in a Series A round to further develop its technology and double its workforce.
And also…
> Robotics logistics startup Scallog secured an undisclosed amount (c. €7m) from Belgian retailer Colruyt.
> TrustInSoft, a cybersecurity startup automating code vulnerability detection in softwares, raised a €5m Series A.
> esport training platform Nicecactus raised €5m from private investors to offer new services to players.
⚡ Other hot moves in France
> Tradelab, owned by French holding company Fimalac, merged with London-based digital marketing agency Jellyfish to better compete on a more and more crowded adtech landscape. The entity is valued at €580m.
> Coca Cola took a 25% stake in alcohol delivery startup Kol. The company expects to reach €2.5m in revenues by the end of the year and plans to double this metric in 2020 with the expansion to major French cities.
> Orange launches its 5G deployment, starting with Romania in 3 main cities. France’s roll-out is not expected before summer 2020.
> Botify and OpenClassrooms are expanding to Asia with help of Dentsu and Fast Track.
🚴 Mobility players at war in Paris
> Micro-mobility startup Pony is willing to expand to Paris with its unique business model that increases scooters and bikes average lifespan.
> RATP inaugurated its own accelerator to support French mobility innovators. 1st batch of 6 startups to start in January 2020.
> RATP also announced a partnership with Israeli company Mobileye to launch a robot taxi experiment in Paris in 2020.
> Uber launched its “comfort” option in Paris, Lille and Nice. Rides will be 20% more expensive but you’ll enjoy a more spacious and recent vehicle driven by >4.85 rated drivers.
🧠 The AI revolution
> According to Roland Berger and France Digital, France should take the lead in Europe in terms of money invested in AI-based startups, reaching €1.15bn in 2019. Well done Frenchies! Also, France, Germany, Spain and the UK combined are home of 67% of total AI startups in Europe.
🤝 Fellow backers
> Investment firm Gaia Capital Partners just launched in France with Gaia Growth I. Co-founders Alice Albizzati and Elina Berrebi say tickets size will be €10-20m in high-growth companies with social or environmental impact.
> Big moves at Alven Capital: Partners Jeremy Uzan and Raffi Kamber announced their departure. New appointments include François Meteyer as Partner, Bartosz Jakubowski as Principal and Pierre Osdoit-Patrigeon as Head of Marketing.
> Breega becomes a generalist investor again after having focused its 2nd fund on fintech startups. BCV3 is expected to reach €110-130m early 2020.
> New sponsor for medtech startups: White Fund just launched in Liège to back Belgian early stage medtech companies. The firm announced the closing of its first fund at €20m.
🌍 European champions
> Fintech unicorn Revolut is looking for … $1.5bn! JP Morgan is working on it.
> Spanish bank Santander acquired 50.1% of London-based fintech startup Ebury for £350m. Funds will be used to accelerate in Latin America and Asia.
> Merchant services platform Pollinate raised £60m to create data-driven experiences for merchants and consumers.
> Big $33.5m Series A for Choco, a Berlin-based startup founded in 2018 enhancing sourcing and procurement for restaurants.
> The European traveltech space is buoyant. Omio (formerly known as Eurolines) strengthens its offering by acquiring multimodal travel platform Rome2Rio. Flight booking platform Duffel raised $30m led by Index Ventures and German business travel company Comtravo raised €21m. Dutch ticketing platform Tiqets secured a $60m Series C led by travel giant AirBnB.
> Ticketing leader Trainline keeps expanding its offering. Thanks to a partnership with, you can now book hotels directly on the platform.
> UK-based Medopad, which creates a connected digital health ecosystem to measure the progression of illnesses through the use of wearables and devices, raised $25m Series B led by pharmaceuticals giant Bayer.
And also…
> In Europe, there were more deals over €100m in 2019 than in 2018 and 2017 combined. Late-stage funding is growing fast for European leaders. UK-based Frog Capital just announced the first close of its 2nd scale-up fund, which is expected to reach over €150m.
> Tired of seeing its companies turning to foreign cloud-computing providers such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon, German government launched a European cloud initiative called Gaia-X. France is also on board.
🔥 What's up in the East (brief and short)
> Alibaba reported a 40% revenue jump and a threefold increase in profits in its 3rd quarter report, exceeding by far analysts expectations.
> China shut the door for Juul and others, by banning online e-cig sales. This decision follows bans from numerous States in the US.
> AntFinancial heard the complaints from foreign visitors: you can now use AliPay when travelling to mainland China. Welcome to QR code heaven!
Jungle Ventures raised $240m for its 3rd fund to invest in South-East Asia gems, 60% of the money raised came from outside Asia.
> Singapore-based fashion technology startup Zilingo to invest $100m to launch US operations.
> Indonesian ride-hailing giant GoJek is expanding to Malaysia and the Philippines in 2020.
> India is on fire! The country added 1,100 startups in 2019, reaching more than 9,000 startups nationwide. India remains the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world and should create more than 100 unicorns by 2025.
> Asia to bypass the US in terms of VC investments by the end of 2020.
📦 Misc
> Google acquired fitness tracking company Fitbit for $2.1bn to bolster its positioning on wearables. The target company ensured user fitness data would not be used by Google Ads… Gartner just released a report highlighting the hyper growth of the wearable devices market: an estimated +27% between 2019 and 2020. Smartwatches alone will grow by +34% (!), representing a c. $23bn market in 2020.
> Uber disclosed a loss of $1bn in Q2. The firm’s core business is doing well but adjacent segments such as Uber Eats or the freight division are bleeding. Uber’s CEO announced the company would reach profitability by 2021.
> While Twitter anounced its intention to ban political ads from its platform, Mark Zuckerberg stated that eliminating political ads was against free speech (and costly above all). Thus, Facebook will keep distributing those ads without even fact-checking them. Do great political ideas really need those ads to be audible?
> Startups are tackling mid-mile delivery in South-East Asia.
💡 Essential content
> Listen to Grab’s President Ming Maa detailing its plans to build a Super App that works.
> Uber drives into financial services with Uber Money. Why is every startup a bank these days?
> a16z Partner Li Jin explains how we’re shifting from the Gig Economy to the Passion Economy: it’s time to showcase and monetize your skills!
> SCMP and Abacus just released their China Internet Report 2019. See how China is building its own technology ecosystem and is enforcing it in neighbouring countries.
China is building its own technology ecosystem
China is building its own technology ecosystem
That's it for this issue.
Thanks for reading The Climb!
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✉ Feel free to reach out to me for any feedback, recommendation or just to send kind words.

-See you in two weeks-
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Ghislain de Buchet

Talking about tech & VC every second Wednesday

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