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Introducing: Seed Scout

Featuring Seed Of The Week Filigran, a cybersecurity startup that raised €5m to build enterprise offerings around its open-source tools.


Thank you for being a patient and loyal reader! We've been in the process of rethinking The French Tech Journal and what kind of insight and value it can deliver about France's dynamic startup ecosystem. Over the past few weeks, we've reached out to some of you in conversations that have helped immensely shape our thinking.

One area where I consistently hear people say they want to hear and see more coverage is early-stage investing. From when I landed in France almost a decade ago, the early-stage scene has been almost completely transformed as the ecosystem has matured. There are more Seed funds, more business angels, and more international players trying to break into the game here.

To tackle this subject, we're launching a new weekly newsletter: Seed Scout.

Each week, Seed Scout will feature a long-form breakdown of a company that has just raised a Seed round, including a video interview with a founder. We'll also spotlight an interesting Business Angel (please nominate Angels we should feature!), and highlight interesting Seed investments from that week. Eventually, we'll include a Sector Deep Dive that explores trends and players to know in a particular market (AgTech, Security, Gaming, etc.).

To sustain this work, The French Tech Journal is moving to a paid model. The newsletters will remain free to receive, but full access to articles will be reserved for paid members who sign up for one of the two tiers.

The Basic membership will give you full access to the main French Tech Journal newsletter on Tuesday which includes a Deep Dive story and an in-depth interview (see an example here). The 2nd tier will include those Basic benefits plus full access to all content featured in Seed Scout.

We're still ramping up and refining these plans. So we'd love to hear your feedback.

For now...on with the show!

Chris O'Brien


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Seed Of The Week: Filigran

Filigran co-founders CEO Samuel Hassine (left) and CTO Julien Richard.

Filigran is based on open-source cybersecurity tools created by the co-founders who are now building an enterprise startup with greater features and support. To help with that transition, Filigran has raised a Seed Round of €5 million from some top-tier investors and a roster of Business Angels that includes some notable security industry insiders. I spoke with Filigran co-founder Samuel Hassine to better understand the company's journey, mission, and potential.

"We need to be able to deliver the vision we have in mind," Hassine said. "It's a challenge for all companies, but especially for one based on open source."

Business Angel Spotlight:
Julien Zakoian

Zakoian is in demand as a Business Angel due to his deep marketing and branding experience, and his knowledge of the U.S. market where he worked for startups such as Meero. His current investment focus is impact and ESG with startups where believes he can make a difference.

"My investment thesis is: I want to be helpful," he said. "I want to get into projects where I can have an impact, which means that I get into a project where branding is starting to be a thing."

Hot Seed Deals

Gapianne co-foundersJennifer Mouillot, Victoire Bastide, Anne-Cécile Descaillot, and Marine Boucherit
. Gapianne co-foundersJennifer Mouillot, Victoire Bastide, Anne-Cécile Descaillot, and Marine Boucherit

What: Gapianne is developing a hybrid e-commerce service that mixes physical retail with online to offer a place to purchase intimate health, wellness, and sex products for women. The startup also offers workshops and advice on related topics that often feel taboo to discuss.

Why: There are few places where women can speak frankly about such products and topics and receive expert tips and guidance.

Seed: €900,000

Who: Co-founders are Marine Boucherit, Anne Cécile Descaillot, Jennifer Mouillot, and Victoire Bastide.

Investors: The round was supported by an undisclosed syndicate of Business Angels.

What's Next: The company currently has products available in major stores like the Bon Marché but hopes to open its own boutique by the end of 2023. It also will invest in greater personalization of product choices on its website.

What: Astraveus has developed a modular manufacturing process to transform the production of cell and gene therapy.

Why: By eliminating the need to build large-scale infrastructure that takes time and requires big capital expenditures, the company wants to reduce the costs and processing time of breakthrough genetic treatments to expand patient access to such therapies.

Seed: €16.5 million

Who: CEO Jérémie Laurent is the founder.

Investors: Led by AdBio partners and including money from M Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC), and Bpifrance Large Venture. The company has also received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and from the French Minister of Education and Innovation and Bpifrance as part of i-Lab prize and the Investissements d’avenir program.

What's Next: The company will use the funding to develop its technology and expand the team.

What: Look Up Space is developing a worldwide network of radars and an innovative platform to process and analyze real-time data about space debris that could pose safety and security risks.

Why: The amount of space debris is rapidly increasing as the number of active satellites has grown from 1,800 in 2018 to 7,000 in 2023. As collisions increase, civilian and military organizations have no reliable way to track the estimated 34,000 pieces of space debris over 10 cm in size floating in space. With that volume set to double over the next decade, Look Up Space wants to improve monitoring and defense against such debris.

Seed: €7 million (plus €7 million in public subsidies)

Who: Co-founders are Juan Carlos Dolado, former head of space surveillance at CNES, and General Michel Friedling, retired Major General of the French Air and Space Force.

Investors: Led by CosmiCapital (France) and MIG Capital (Germany), with money from Geodesic Expansion (France) and several business angels: Greg Wyler of E-SPACE), Hélène Huby of Urania Ventures, andJean-Baptiste Djebbari (former Minister of Transport).

What's Next: The company will continue to develop its platform and hire.

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