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Seed Scout #14: Kolet's eSIM Plot To Reinvent Telecom Services

Also inside: Serena Partner Bertrand Diard breaks down the firm's new €100m Data and AI fund; and the latest Seed Deals.


Welcome to Seed Scout which takes you inside France’s early-stage startup scene. As a reminder, this newsletter is free. Upgrade to a paid membership to get full access to all the articles.

In this edition:

Chris O'Brien & Helen O'Reilly-Durand

The French Tech Journal

Seed Of The Week: Kolet

Kolet co-founders (left to right): Jérémy Gotteland, Anne-Carole Cöen, Eduardo Ronzano, and Mehdi Chraibi. Photo © Claire Jaillard
Kolet co-founders (left to right): Jérémy Gotteland, Anne-Carole Cöen, Eduardo Ronzano, and Mehdi Chraibi. Photo © Claire Jaillard

For more than a decade, Spanish entrepreneur Eduardo Ronzano had an oversized impact on the embryonic French tech ecosystem. First, as a founder who sold his startup, and then as one of France’s most prolific angel investors (and managing director of a semi-secret VC fund called…Secret Fund).

His new startup, Kolet, has raised €5m to develop an eSIM platform for international travelers. It's the first step of Ronzano's long-term vision of connecting billions of people to the internet by reinventing the telecom industry.

“I won't be happy just if we make money,” Ronzano said. “I want to make a dent in telecom that's so big that other telco operators will have to mimic what we do and become more customer-centric companies."

Investor Spotlight:
Serena Partner
Bertrand Diard

Serena Partner Betrand Diard

Thanks to an early bet on Data and AI, Serena was able to raise a new €100m early-stage fund to expand its investments in one of tech's hottest spaces. Partner Bertrand Diard said the fund will focus on the infrastructure needed to enable new AI and Data applications.

"We started this investment thesis in 2017," Diard said. "It's a really specific sector and we have a pretty strong track record. That's important because LPs can consider us as established investors in a market with credibility. "

Hot Seed Deals 🔥

Blackleaf co-founders from left: Housseinou BA, Yannick Lafue, and Cuong Pham-Huu
BLACKLEAF : tout savoir sur la start-up - Challenges

What: Blackleaf, a French leader in Graphene production.

Why: To revolutionize graphene production, a strategic material with multiple applications, crucial for ecological transition.

Funding: €7 million
Who: Co-Founders Yannick Lafue, Housseinou BA, Cuong Pham-Huu

Investors: Armor Group, Bpifrance, CIC, BNP Paribas, and Crédit Agricole Alsace Vosges & circa 50 Business Angels

What's next: The new funding will help fuel the company's growth as it expands the team of 12 to 40 forty employees by 2025. Additionally, the startup's goal is both to establish a real industrial production capacity and, in parallel, to develop solutions and products using graphene.

Veesual : Virtual Try-On for Real People

What: Veesual, a publisher of an artificial intelligence-based virtual reality online clothes fitting solution.

Why: To allow online clothes shoppers to visualize the outfits they want to purchase on themselves before buying, thereby enhancing the way buyers shop online while reducing waste.

Funding: €5 million

Who: Co-founders Maxime Patte & Damien Meurisse

Investors: Axa Venture Partners, Techstars & various Business Angels

What's next: The new money will help accelerate the company's development in the American market with the opening in 2025 of its first US office in New York and the recruitment of senior American talents.

HyLight - Scaling inspections of energy infrastructures

What: Hylight, a manufacturer of multi-sensor hydrogen airship drones for infrastructure inspections and management.

Why: To decarbonize safe air inspection.

Funding: €3.7 million

Who: Co-founders Martin Bocken & Thomas Laporte

Investors: Y Combinator, Ring Capital, Kima Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Marc Tarpenning (Tesla co-founder)

What's next: The new cash will be used to accelerate the development of its zero-emission aerial data drones.

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