Skip to content

🤖 La Machine: French AI News Recap For June

Welcome to the first edition of our French AI newsletter. Each month, we'll tell you what you need to know about an ecosystem that is emerging as a global AI hub.

Photo by Rock'n Roll Monkey / Unsplash


For as long as I have been in France, the nation has been dreaming of becoming a global leader in Artificial Intelligence.

In 2016, I was invited to be a moderator at a new conference called "France is AI" which was organized by Paul Strachman, a U.S.-based venture partner for ISAI at the time (now a founding partner of SPAR). “France is one of the most vibrant ecosystems when it comes to artificial intelligence,” Strachman told me. “But it’s not really known outside of France. And sometimes it’s not really known inside France.”

France's AI startup scene was still puny compared to the U.S. Strachman mapped 180 AI startups in France that year. Between January 2014 and mid-October 2016 (when the conference was held), 33 AI-related companies in France raised $108 million, well behind the $342 million raised by UK startups.

However, the French government was converted to the cause. In 2018, President Macron's government released a study called “AI for Humanity” that outlined strategies for developing the sector and pledged to spend €1.5 billion over 5 years to boost the sector. By 2022, France counted 590 AI startups that raised €3.2 billion. Last year, Macron put another €500 million into the kitty for AI funding.

The advent of Generative AI seems to have finally lit the fuse that has sent France's AI rocket into the stratosphere. The drumbeat of AI funding and news in France has captured the world's attention. In May, Microsoft announced it would invest €4 billion in France to "accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies." My inbox is packed with AI-related announcements. The French government has rolled out another national AI strategy to accelerate investments across research institutions, startups, and government agencies. Macron announced several new AI-related initiatives, including an additional investment of €400 million for several new AI training centers to boost France's talent pool, and plans for a new investment fund – 25% funded by the government – to support startups in AI, semiconductors, and the cloud.

In other words, there is A LOT going on in France. That's why we're launching this new monthly newsletter: La Machine. The goal is to round up the most important developments in France's AI ecosystem to provide an easy way to stay informed and track the most important news coming out of this dynamic region.

We hope you find this useful and informative. We'd love to hear your feedback. You can support our mission by upgrading to a paid subscription. And we'll be seeking sponsors for this monthly newsletter, so if you're interested drop us a note: /

Chris O'Brien & Helen O'Reilly-Durand

The Headlines

🗞️ France is making a bid to be Europe's GenAI leader, according to a Founders Factory report from Accel and Dealroom. Some notable figures: French GenAI startups have attracted the most funding in the region, with $2.29 billion to date – ahead of the UK ($1.15Bn), Israel ($1.04Bn), and Germany ($636M). Three French companies – Mistral, Owkin, and Hugging Face (founded by Frenchies but based in NYC) – are in the region's top five best-funded companies. (Accel + Dealroom)

🗞️ Mistral AI, France's Great GenAI hope, raised €468 million (plus €132 million in debt) Series B at a €5.8 billion valuation to keep pace with the global AI arms race. (Sifted)

🗞️ French SMBs are resisting the siren song of AI. According to a study by Bpifrance Le Lab, only 3% of SMB managers use AI regularly, and 12% occasionally. More telling, 72% of managers do not use GenAI, 58% have no intention of using it in the short term, and 14% do not want to use it, or have even banned use in their company. Bpifrance attributes this to "a lack of awareness of the potential of these tools."

🗞️ French Fintech unicorn Qonto offered a somewhat different view in a report that noted European SMBs increased their usage of AI since 2023. This group is favoring giants like OpenAI, which captured 80% market share. The use of AI tools among SMBs grew from 1% in Q1 2023 to 8% by Q1 2024, illustrating a growing interest in AI within European businesses. French SMBs, however, lagged behind Germany and Spain. (Qonto)

🗞️ French startup news site Maddyness released The Mad 50, a list of the top 50 AI personalities in the French ecosystem. The list was compiled in collaboration with Banque Richelieu, a family-owned wealth management banking group.

The Interviews

Gojob: It's Not Easy Going GenAI

Pascal Lorne. Via Wikipedia

🗣️ The temp recruiting platform spent €40m over 15 months to develop its Gojob Aglaé virtual assistant. CEO Pascal Lorne said the unexpected development pain has paid off with massive productivity gains. "Very few have managed to use GenAI for real business cases," Lorne said. "I’m very proud of it." (Go inside Gojob's GenAI adventure.)

Omi Releases GenAI Features, Targets US Expansion

🗣️ Omi has infused GenAI into its SaaS platform which allows clients to render 3D photos and videos. After raising a €13M Series A round, the startup is targeting the U.S. market. "When we look at AI, the question is can we scale but still maintain quality?" said CEO and Co-Founder Hugo Borensztein, who spoke with us about Omi's evolving business and ambitions.

Mistral AI CEO: French Labor Laws And VC Financing Pose Scaling Challenges

Mistral AI CEO Arthur Mensch (left) and Economic Affairs Commission President Dominique Estrosi Sassone.
Mistral AI CEO Arthur Mensch responds to questions at a French Senate hearing as Economic Affairs Commission President Dominique Estrosi Sassone listens. (Photo courtesy of the French Senate via Twitter)

🗣️ Mistral AI Co-Founder Arthur Mensch recently testified at the French Senate where he addressed concerns over the nation's competitiveness in AI, problems with fundraising and recruiting in France, and what drives him personally. (Read excerpts of his Senate Q&A)

Products + Posts

☀️ Mistral AI has introduced its Codestral model, GenAI software that can generate computer code. The company trained Codestral on 80 programming languages and says it can complete code, create tests, and help coders improve their skills. (Pymnts) (Mistral AI PR)

☀️ AIFacePro: AI Headshot: Thomas A.Q.T. Truong, an AI engineer named as one of MIT's Innovators Under 35, has released his latest app, which uses AI to turn a selfie into a range of professional portraits. Truong made a splash with the release of VocalSign, an AI-powered app that could translate sign languages into voice, text, and images in real time. MIT called it "a landmark achievement." He also created ThePenPilot, an AI book-writing companion built on GPT-4-Turbo.

☀️ CO2 AI unveiled its new platform that allows enterprises to compute carbon emissions for thousands of products. The platform uses GenAI to drastically reduce the time to assess carbon impact across thousands of products, which in turn helps companies define a decarbonization strategy. (CO2 AI Blog Post) (Read our Seed Of The Week profile of CO2 AI)

☀️ Contentsquare announced its new Experience Intelligence platform which centralizes its four primary analytics products and uses AI to help teams collaborate and produce better insights. (Contentsquare PR)

☀️ Mirakl hired a new Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer, Anne-Claire Baschet. She is charged with developing the data and AI strategy for the B2B marketplace unicorn, including driving adoption across all products.

☀️ Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale is expanding its partnership with IBM to develop greater AI applications to be deployed across the bank. Credit Mutuel's tech subsidiary, Euro-Information, has already been using AI, but now intends to focus on 35 new AI use cases, including GenAI-powered tools that help advisors respond to clients more quickly. (Credit Mutuel PR/IBM)

☀️ Shift Technology, an AI insurtech company, reported that its GenAI solution has increased liability determination accuracy to 90% accuracy for liability determination which has accelerated recovery efforts while lowering costs. (Shift PR)

☀️ Lefebvre Dalloz, a leader in legal and tax knowledge, and Xelya, a SaaS business software publisher, have partnered to create GenIA-L, a legal generative AI launched in France that will be integrated into Xelya's Diapaz, a management software dedicated to law firms. (Xelya Blog Post)

☀️ Pixpay launched One, a payment card for teenagers that they can customize using GenAI.

☀️ Atout France, France's tourism development agency, and Genial, a Bordeaux-based startup, launched MarIAnne, an AI-driven virtual travel advisor designed to offer personalized travel experiences for tourists visiting France. (IA News)

☀️ Ametra Engineering has partnered with ECE, the Grande École of Digital Engineering, to create a GenAI lab called, the ECE Intelligence Lab. The goal is to focus on training for AI-related product engineering. (Ametra)

☀️ Groupe Centrale, an automotive marketplace, introduced an AI assistant that lets consumers use natural language queries to find the right car. (LinkedIn)

Government + Policy

👉 Urssaf (Unions de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales) announced it is rolling out GenAI features to improve customer service. The agency collects and manages social charges (for retirement, healthcare, etc.), and is taking a cautious approach, emphasizing that GenAI will help staff be more effective, but won't take away jobs. The new tools include 2 voice bots, 9 chatbots, and 3 live chats intended to improve the speed and quality of responses to users.

👉 The European Broadcasting Union approved a common position on GenAI that outlines the major issues for public service media. The initiative was led by France's TFI and calls for greater cooperation between regulators, AI developers, and the media on topics such as data use, source attribution and display, and visibility and verification. (EBU)

👉 Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. will delay launch of the Meta AI chatbot in Europe. That follows a request from regulators who raised concerns about the the company's plan to train its large language models on content generated by its European users. (Bloomberg)

👉 Apple likewise said it would not launch its new Apple Intelligence in EU this year over concerns about antitrust regulation and privacy rules under the Digital Markets Act. (CNBC)


🛒 Aerospace giant Safran has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire Preligens, a leader in artificial intelligence for aerospace and defense, in a deal reported to be worth €220 million, according to La Tribune. Founded in 2016, Preligens provides AI analytics solutions for high-end imagery, full-motion video, and acoustic signals. Preligens lost €4 million on €28 million in revenue last year and has 220 employees, including 140 engineers in Research & Development. The startup has projected it would turn a profit of at least €3 million on revenue of €35 million in 2024. However, the company was facing pressure from early shareholders who wanted liquidity, according to the report. In addition, the company faced some regulatory constraints because the French military is its largest customer, meaning it faced limitations in raising funding from international investors. With late-stage funding scarce in France, executives decided to solicit bids for an acquisition. The company has raised $46.3 million from Agorano, EIT Climate-KIC, Bpifrance, 360 Capital, and Tikehau Ace Capital. (Safran) (La Tribune) (Le Monde) (Tikehau)

🛒 Doctolib acquired Swiss startup Typeless, which uses AI to optimize medical documents, for an undisclosed amount. (LinkedIn) The deal came just a few weeks after Doctolib bought, a German AI-powered phone assistant solution provider.

🛒 AdvanThink, a French leader in AI and payment fraud prevention, acquired Invenis, a startup founded in 2015 to provide AI-driven no-code solutions for data preparation. (Fusacq)

🛒 Grenoble-based Kalray is finalizing a deal to merge with Israel-based Pliops. Kalray has developed a solution that accelerates data workflow for storage and AI GPUs. (Silicon Canals)

🛒 Health InsurTech Alan acquired, a professional coaching platform that uses AI to offer high-quality support for professionals through services such as career development, emotional well-being, and coaching. (Maddyness)

🛒 Businesscoot, a French market research company, acquired IndexPresse, a Grenoble-based press analysis and summary service. Businesscoot will use the technology to develop SectorGPT: an AI dedicated to specific market sector research which the company says will offer superior results compared to more general GPT tools. The beta version of SectorGPT has already been released, and Version 2 will be released in September. (Journal des Enterprises)


🚀 Panoptix AI: 3D Vision for Immersive Reality. Founded by Amine Bourki. Mission: Creating virtual assets can be costly and complex. Bourki, who has a PhD in computer vision, developed Panoptix AI to democratize 3D using GenAI and 3D Gaussian Splatting. He is developing the project at the Inria Startup Studio in Paris. The ultimate goal: Enable real-time streaming of reality into the Metaverse.

🚀 Bluco: Uses conversational AI to recruit. The startup has been part of the Station F Founders Program. Co-founded by Nicolò Magnante and Francsico De Latour. Founded on June 26, 2024. According to their Station F bio: "Bluco helps companies recruit qualified candidates faster with conversational AI. Nicolò Magnante is an HEC alumnus who began his career at Bain & Company and contributed to the opening of the BrightHouse division at BCG Milan before joining the Parisian Scale-up Ovrsea. Francisco De Latour obtained his software engineering degree at UCL, where he founded and sold his first startup. He then worked for a scale-up acquired by HP, as the first employee and technical lead of the venture, as well as in HRTech for a well-known ATS."

🚀 Yampa: Building AI-native agents to automate automating tasks such as applying, candidate screening, and scheduling interviews. The company was co-founded in March by Patrice Mazoyer, Marin Huet, Stéphane Blondeau, and Baptiste Saintot.

🚀 Flexcloud: A collaborative workplace platform that adheres to French privacy and data storage regulations. The company has been developed by industrial giant Air Liquide since 2009 but was spun out and founded on March 8, 2024, as a separate company. The primary founder is CEO Jérôme Flament, an 18-year veteran of Air Liquide, who holds 2,000 of the 2,300 shares. Air Liquide project architect Erwan Hamon, Nicolas Flament, and Isabelle Theyssier each hold 100 shares.

🚀 Sustaain: Sustainable operations in soft commodities thanks to better data management and dedicated AI Agents. Founded on May 16, 2024 by Clément Collignon.

🚀 RaiseSense: Uses homomorphic encryption and AI to enable safe and secure data sharing that allows for greater customer insights and new revenue streams while ensuring privacy is safeguarded. Co-founded by former CEA researchers Thanh-Hai Nguyen and Olivier Heron.

🚀 BubbleOut: Building a matchmaking app to connect people looking for dates or friendship. Founded in 2024 by Alban Sarfati, a Master's student from CentraleSupélec. Pitch deck here.

🚀 RefBoard: Uses AI to make asynchronous reference checks to make the recruitment process more efficient. Founded in 2024 by Paul Wery.

AI Funding News

What: Poolside AI is building an LLM for software developers.

Why: To accelerate and democratize software development.

Funding: $400 million at a valuation of $2 billion (Source: Techcrunch)
Who: C0-founders Jason and Eiso Kant

Investors: Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) and DST

What: Dust helps companies launch AI assistants.

Why: To allow teams to collaborate more effectively while lowering costs.

Funding: $16 million Series A

Who: Co-founders are Stanislas Polu and Gabriel Hubert

Investors: Sequoia Capital led the round with participation from historical investors such as XYZ Venture Capital, Connect Ventures, and Seedcamp.

What's Next: The company has passed $1M ARR and intends to use the money to accelerate product development and expand its team.

What: Tengo, a SaaS platform that helps businesses win more public tenders.

Why: To enable more businesses to tap into opportunities in the public procurement market.

Funding: €3.0m Seed

Who: Co-founders Hugues Renou & Yoann Gauthier

Investors: Point Nine

What's Next: The fresh cash will allow Tengo to make the public tender market more accessible to all businesses by accelerating the integration of AI into its product with AI-powered response assistance features (currently being tested by clients).

What: Tetmet has developed a process called Adaptive Spatial Lattice Manufacturing (ASLM) that uses solid metal rods and AI-controlled robotic arms to create lighter and sturdier structures compared to traditional 3D printing methods.

Why: To enable more intricate and reliable designs while using less energy.

Funding: €500,00o Pre-Seed

Who: Co-founders are Tom Vroemen, Peter Evers, Justin Dirrenberger, Nicolas Chaignet, and Rachel Azulay.

Investors: S&S, Eatwell, rpv (previous investors include Sequoia)

What's Next: The company was just part of the winter batch at Incubateur HEC Paris in Station F. The money will be used to continue research and product development.


📆 AI and Growth: A Conversation with Philippe Aghion | July 4 08:30 - 10:30|Co-chair of the Commission for AI, Philippe Aghion is one of the leading living thinkers on growth and innovation | €300 | (Buy Tickets)

📆 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Communication Engineering (ICAICE) | 4th - 5th July 2024 | Paris, France | In-person tickets sold out, but tickets for virtual viewing can still be purchased.

📆 Launch party for the new AI-themed issue of Usbek & Rica |Meet and chat with Blaise Mao and Élisa Thévenet, editors-in-chief of Usbek & Rica, and Alexei Grinbaum, physicist and philosopher. | July 10 7:15 - 9pm | Free | (Sign up)

📆 Integrating Blockchain and AI (Artificial Intelligence) | July 11, 16h | 2-hour live online training to help you navigate the convergence of Blockchain and AI (Artificial Intelligence) | €399 – €599| (Sign up)

📆 Better mobilization of data and AI for the ecological transition | Sponsored by ECOLAB | July 9 · 9am - 12:30pm | Free | (Sign up)

📆 Global Insight Conference on AI | Unleashing the latest trends in Artificial Intelligence | 11 - 12, 2024 | Paris, France (Hybrid Event) | Tickets from €449 to €1,249 | (Registration)

📆 Afterwork AI & Business in 2024 | Discover how AI is transforming the entrepreneurial world, unlocking new efficiencies, and creating unique competitive advantages. | July 24 19:30 - 22:30 | Free | (Sign up)

📆 International Conference on Business and Artificial Intelligence (ICBAI)| July 29 - 30 | Tickets for either in-person or virtual attendance: $119 to $1,800 | (Registration open until July 19)

👋🏻 If you’re enjoying The French Tech Journal, support the project by forwarding it to friends and sharing it on your social networks. You can also comment on this post. And if you have ideas for stories, tips, or just want to harass us, shoot us an email: / 👋🏻‌