i3 | September 14, 2021

Paris Offers it All

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Map of France

Brexit could be just the opportunity for Paris to claim the title of European fintech capital. For now, Paris has startups of all sizes, and in all types of fields. Here are just a few:

Wheeliz co-founded by Charlotte de Vilmorin, is a site that rents handicap-friendly cars between individuals. Wheeliz has more than 10,000 users.

Back Market sells previously-owned products. Some folks think refurbished electronics are limited to phones and laptops, but Back Market also sells devices including cameras, headphones and smart watches. Warranties allow full refunds or product exchanges.

DentalMonitoring is an AI-based (artificial intelligence) virtual monitoring app that helps dental professionals view aligners and braces, remotely.

Ynsect transforms insects (mealworms, in particular) into protein for things like fish food and fertilizer. Ynsect will eventually supply high protein supplements for athletes, and plans include looking to the meat substitute market within a few years.

Shift Technology is an insurtech unicorn that enables clients to detect fraudulent claims. It sells a suite of AI tools to insurers.

Paris Startups Pushing to the Top

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to turn France into a startup nation in 2017, and he could reach his goal of “25 unicorns by 2025.” France has added nine new unicorns so far in 2021. In June, Macron hosted “Scale-Up Europe,” to ensure support is available to France and the European Union. The newest campaign, “Welcome to La French Tech,” introduced a new tech visa plan to the country. It helps recruit skilled tech talent by offering access to free healthcare and education and also reduces the labor shortage. In city rankings, Paris is now ranked #2 for European startup tech investment, and 2021 may be the year it rises to the top. Paris Pionnières and Starther have called Paris the capital of women startups in Europe, with groups like Femmes Business Angels that supports funding for women.

Beauty Shines Through with Tech

L’Oreal-owned Modiface integrated with Facebook’s tech platform to use artificial reality (AR) to sell makeup through the social platform. Consumers can find what they want on a makeup brand’s Instagram page, and then virtually try it before they buy. Earlier consumers also used Modiface to virtually try on some 75 shades of Essie nail polish (using the phone’s camera), and then purchase the polish through several retailers. Another area of collaboration is L’Oréal partnered with Clue, an app that tracks menstrual cycles, to get a better understanding of the link between skin health and hormonal changes. Founded in 2012, the app has more than 12 million users in 190 countries. 

Parisian Food and Fashion 

When we think of Paris, food and fashion come to mind, though maybe not pizza. Pazzi Pizza sounds like something you might order from the menu, but it’s actually a restaurant in Paris where robots make, bake and box up pizza for you. The robots, also called Pazzi, can make up to 80 pizzas an hour. The freshly made-to-order pizzas begin with homemade pizza dough. And on the fashion front, second-hand fashion startup Vestiaire Collective became a unicorn in March 2021, with its ecommerce platform selling previously-owned clothes. Vestiaire has a unique quality control system that ensure fashionistas get exactly what they want. 

i3 magazine September/October 2021 cover

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