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French startups to look out for

For several years France has been trying to become one of the most important startup basins in the world. The country offers Europe’s largest tax discount for research and development. There are 71 innovative clusters combining universities, private enterprises and research centers.

France already has several success stories. Among the most spectacular ones are BlaBlaCar, a service linking drivers having free seats in their vehicles with people looking for transportation, streaming service Deezer or manufacturer of thermostats Nest, bought by Google for an impressive sum of $3.2 billion. The below list presents these small French companies which are still not well known but deserve special attention for their innovation:

Happn – An application which uses current location of your phone to find and show you persons with whom your paths have crossed and potentially liked us. Of course, to be in the timeline presenting the people we passed, both persons have to use Happn. This is to be the solution for situations when our attention is drawn to the person sitting opposite us on the bus, but before we get the courage to speak to her, she gets off. Or when we liked someone we passed on the street. The idea appealed to the investors – in December 2014 the company managed to raise $8 million in the first round of financing.

Cookening – An American Airbnb-like platform which connects residents of a given city with tourists who would like to taste real local food. These “host” users create their own profiles on the site, where they publish photos of meals they have prepared to encourage potential visitors. Importantly, Cookening offers not only unique culinary experiences but also the possibility to engage in social interaction.

StarOfService – The platform connects local service providers with customers and allows them to adapt to their needs – price range, location or preferred time. After submitting an inquiry, the customer gets an email and he chooses which offer he wants to use. The service is available to users looking for local services tailored to their specific needs – from wedding photographers, plumbers, language teachers, DJs, to Pokemon Go trainers to hire. Last year, the startup raised $10 million from investors for further development.

Mention – The image of our company is built, among others, by the type of relationships we have with our clients. The faster we are able to react to consumer feedback, the better. The tool created by Mention startup not only informs users in real time about their company being mentioned on the internet, but also allows an immediate response to an article or post in social media. This ultra-fast media monitoring is already used by companies such as: Microsoft, Spotify and GitHub.

Piwik Pro from Poland raises $2M

Polish product Piwik Pro has recently raised capital from the Warsaw Equity Group to promote a new marketing technology suite which will offer data-sensitive companies with 100% control of their data and compliance with privacy regulations.

Piwik PRO offers solutions in the field of web analytics based on Piwik – leading analytics platform of open-source type that c
an be downloaded and used for free. Unlike other solutions such as Google Analytics, Piwik provides its users complete control over their data and meets requirements of the strictest regulations on privacy protection in the Internet. For this reason, the project gains popularity in Germany and other countries where such regulations are strictly enforced. Piwik is used by 1.3% of all websites in the world and has been fully translated into more than 50 languages. The list of previous clients includes among others: HP, the European Commission, government agencies in Canada and New Zealand, international financial institutions, Accenture, Government of Netherlands.

Piwik PRO is the answer to demand for services for businesses and government institutions related to Piwik platform to analyze data on open-source license. The fundamental services are Piwik Cloud and Piwik Enterprise, which provide first-class services in hosting and consulting. Piwik Cloud is cloud hosting for those customers who want to retain full control over data brought by Piwik, while utilizing the possibility of keeping these data on secure servers of Piwik PRO. Piwik Enterprise is a service for users of Piwik, providing consultancy, support and adaptation of software to the needs of users who store data on their own servers.

This is one of the largest investments in the region to date. Funding is hard in Central Europe and it points to a way forward for tech-savvy and privacy-leaning startups in Poland and all Middle Europe.

An electronic stethoscope for parents

StethoMe™ is the world’s first electronic, wireless stethoscope that cooperates with a smartphone and has a built-in thermometer and an intelligent analysis system of sounds. The project could arise thanks to cooperation of a group of scientists, physicians, acousticians, computer scientists, designers and business people. The project is very ambitious, because the device is not just another gadget, but a specialized medical device. Thanks to it parents can auscultate baby’s lungs by themselves and then send the recorded sounds to a trusted doctor.

In the future StethoMe™ will be integrated with artificial intelligence algorithms, so that the device itself will be able to assess whether the sounds in the lungs mean only cold sickness or a more serious disease. For now, however, the startup only has a fully functional prototype of the device and is preparing for its production. Later this year the company intends to gain CE certificate (Conformité Européenne) and, in the first quarter of 2018, to debut on the market. There are already talks with potential partners from Germany and the Netherlands. The startup hopes that the project development and market entry will accelerate thanks to participation in the accelerator program organized by HighTech XL and Philips in Eindhoven. The company is now focusing on attracting investors who will support production process, as well as cooperation with telemedical companies and acquiring a strategic partner to be able to sell the device to customers. The product will be offered in a subscription model in addition to medical care package and should get to patients’ hands directly. Eventually the device will be sold in pharmacies or electronics stores. The buyer will be able to choose one of many telemedical partners and decide whether to pay a one-time larger amount, or use the subscription option.The project has been invested by: SpeedUp Group and the company Programa.pl, through which the company has been conducting it vision since January 2016. Since January 2017 the project has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The startup has scored a number of achievements:

  • Polish Intelligent Development Award, nomination, 2017
  • Bringing tech&science closer to people, finalists, 2017
  • Philips Innovation Challenge – Champion Award, 2016
  • MIT Enterprise Forum Acceleration Program – Certificate, 2016
  • Nokia Innovation Challenge – semi-finalists, 2016

Google Launchpad Accelerator expands to Europe and Africa

If you are trying to develop innovative business in the field of IT and telecommunications, your corporate sponsor can now be Google itself. Launched in 2015 Launchpad Accelerator, initially addressed to the countries of Asia and Latin America, is opening up to new territories to include startups from Certain European and African countries. Now, entrepreneurs from these regions can join the 47 graduates and 31 currently participating startups.

There are very few companies that could match the reach and resources of Google, and now these resources can be made available for free to all those who want, through science, to solve real problems of their city, region or country. The program is organized by a global team of Google Developers for startups with a proven history of success in the marketplace, who want to reach the next million users.

The program begins with a two-week training in San Francisco, whose main feature are mentoring sessions with engineers and product managers from 20 Google teams and an international team of external mentors. Participants will receive financial support of $ 50.000, free access to paid Google services and help of local Google teams for six months.

For the new training cycle now there can sign up startups from Central and Eastern Europe – Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Africa – Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Of course, Google does not guarantee that it will accept all. On the contrary, the competition may be intense. In the program there also participate startups from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Applications will be accepted until April 24. Training will begin on 17 July. More information can be found on the Launchpad Accelerator website.

Booksy raised $4.2M

Polish application for booking visits, for example hairdressers and beauty salons, has closed another round of financing. This time Booksy received more than $ 4 million. It will be allocated in further development of several functions, such as allowing in-app payments, enabling larger merchants to handle personnel through the software, and development of better reporting systems.

Many of the beauty service providers do not have time to pick up calls and make appointments after their work hours. Customers, on the other hand, want to book a visit twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Booksy helps both clients and owners of premises in solving this problem. Customers – because they have access to the platform at any time, and entrepreneurs – because it happens without them, so that they can do other things at that time. Adoption of the app has been shown to improve customer loyalty and frequency of bookings. It is partly because by using Booksy, businesses are able to accept bookings outside of working hours for the first time. In addition to scheduling, Booksy helps entrepreneurs with several other features meant to support and boost their processes, such as a CRM, marketing automation, inventory management, point-of-sales, reports, management of commission for employees, and (soon) in-app payments.

In contrast to its competitors, Booksy does not act as a marketplace or even does not charge for reservations. It operates in a SaaS model with a monthly subscription. The application has competitors in every market, for example: Treatwell from the UK, LadyTime from Poland, StyleSeat from the U.S., Vaniday from Brazil. Each of them acts as a marketplace and charges for reservations. Entrepreneurs are not content with that.

This round of financing led the Open Ocean fund with participation of the Australian company and investor Investible, as well as Polish Nomad Fund, Kai Hansen (ex-Lieferando), Apostolos Apostolakis, as well as the head of the Google Campus in Warsaw – Rafal Plutecki. In 2015 Booksy already received EUR 700 thousand, which was invested in the project. Among others, the investor was Inovo vc fund.