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How Bpifrance Boosted Ÿnsect

Bpifrance's support for Ÿnsect is a case study in the bank's central role in France's innovation economy.

Ÿnsect CEO Antoine Hubert

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Last month for Sifted, I wrote a deep dive on Bpifrance in an attempt to explain how the bank works and the breadth of ways it's trying to catalyze the innovation economy in France. To tell that story, I zoomed in on Bpifrance's work with quantum computing startup PASQAL.

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Understanding how Bpifrance spent €67bn in 2022 to fund innovation can be daunting. But its role boosting quantum-computing startup PASQAL demonstrates the breadth of its support

During the reporting, I originally intended to tell the same story of its work with Ÿnsect, the alternative protein startup that's industrializing the production of mealworms to create new protein sources for animals and humans. But due to length, I cut the Ÿnsect portions of the story, so I'm sharing that here.

The company has raised $425 million in venture capital and debt to build out its industrial farming system, which includes now a big push into the U.S. I've spoken with CEO Antoine Hubert several times and we even visited one of their production facilities last year. You can listen to our podcast with Hubert here:

And watch the video of our tour of their plant in Dole, France here:

I spoke with Hubert again last month to specifically discuss the ways Ÿnsect had been supported by Bpifrance.

"They are clearly essential," Hubert said. "We wouldn't be here without their support. They have invested a lot in the company because we represent a key technology for France. It's about food sovereignty which is becoming more and more critical."

As was the case with PASQAL (and French startups in general), Bpifrance's impact is felt far beyond just direct investing through venture capital and loans. There is indirect money through venture capital firms. But there are also "softer" benefits ranging from networking to events to promotion to general counseling.

I'll dig into the details below.

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