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Seed Scout #9: Tourism And Travel Tech Set Course For Destination Disruption

The government pushes for greater innovation in a critical economic sector. Plus: 50 Partners reinvents the accelerator model.


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 week's edition:

Chris O'Brien & Helen O'Reilly-Durand

The French Tech Journal

Seed Of The Week: alltheway

Alltheway co-founders (l to r): Julien de Colfmacker, Émilie Gazeau, and Anouar Zbaida.
Alltheway co-founders (l to r): Julien de Colfmacker, Émilie Gazeau, and Anouar Zbaida.

The Paris-based Travel Tech startup has created a logistics platform for checking-in bags outside of airports. That's the first step in a larger e-commerce vision for travel needs, according to Co-Founder and CEO Émilie Gazeau.

"We feel like – although it looks like it's stupid, it's just luggage, no one really cares – the relief that people get out of such a service outweighs the monetary value," Gazeau said. "But we have a roadmap that goes beyond luggage. Luggage is just the first step of our whole strategy. The name of the company is not Super Luggage. It's 'alltheway' because luggage is one element of all the solutions we want to develop for airlines, airports, and train companies."

Investor Spotlight:
50 Partners Founder
Jérôme Masurel

50 Partners is a Paris-based accelerator program that matches startups with its curated list of 50 entrepreneurs (the "partners") who provide life-long guidance and advice to the founders as they develop the idea.

Jérome Masurel founded 50 Partners in 2012 as an antidote to his previous experience with accelerators, which he believed were too focused on their own goals and missions rather than the founders who participated. To better serve entrepreneurs, 50 Partners has recruited entrepreneurs from some of France's top startups (BlaBlaCar, Showroomprivée, Leboncoin, Dataiku, Talentsoft, etc.) who have different fields of expertise (finance, product development, sales & marketing, etc.).

The startups that are selected get a long-term, bespoke experience. "I think we have a stronger impact on a few projects and help them succeed, which is much better than just taking on lots and lots of projects and seeing what happens," Masurel said.

Sector Deep Dive: Tourism And Travel Tech

@copyright: DR

“Must try harder!” was the resounding message that echoed through Olivia Grégoire’s opening speech at the October launch of French Tourism Tech, France’s latest national startup program.

As Minister for Tourism, Grégoire emphatically urged French travel and tourism tech startups to step up their performance as she unveiled the first 15 companies chosen to participate in the program, set to run from January to June each year. The selected startups stand to gain from comprehensive training, advisory, and promotional support, with the ambitious goal of not only enhancing their success but of potentially birthing the next French unicorn.

The call-to-action was clear, but why the firm tone? Let's take a closer look at France's Travel and Tourism Tech Sector.

Hot Seed Deals Employees, Location, Alumni | LinkedIn

What: Augment, an edtech that has created an alternative to the traditional MBA program with digital technology and business leaders.

Why: To democratize access to business education.

Funding: €6 million (the biggest ever seed edtech round)
Who: Co-Founders Ariel Renous Roy Wellner

Investors: RTP global, Kima Ventures, Bpifrance, Financière St James, Motier Ventures, Origins as well as Business Angels such as Thibaud Elzière (eFounders) & Roxanne Varza (StationF).
What's Next: The edtech will use the money to double the length of the program from 30 to 60 hours, broaden the content catalog, and focus on enhancing the community aspects of the MBA.

What: Qevlar AI, a cybersecurity startup using proprietary AI to detect cyber attacks.

Why: To help businesses overcome smarter cyber threats.

Funding: €4.5 million
Who: Co-Founders Ahmed Achchak and Hamza Sayah

Investors: EQT Ventures & Business Angels Olivier Pomel (Datadog), Mehdi Ghissassi (Google DeepMind), Florian Douetteau (Dataiku), Edouard Viot (GitGuardian) and Tarik Dadi (Qantev).
What's Next: The startup will use the funds to engage in a recruitment drive and further develop its generative AI cybersecurity solution.

What: Stockoss, an e-logistics startup.

Why: To streamline and enhance supply chain management for companies while enabling independent logistics service providers to make better use of existing warehouse space.

Funding: €4 million
Who: Co-Founders, Laurent Bonnet & Franck Nussbaumer

Investors: VC Pi Labs, Global Brain, 50Partners, Hartwood, Kima Ventures.
What's Next: The startup plans to expand into the UK, Germany, and Spain and increase the size of its team.  

What: Finishers, a marketplace for outdoor sports events in France.

Why: To enable outdoor sports enthusiasts (running, trail, cycling, triathlon, etc.) to find and access their next race more easily.

Funding: €3.3 million
Who: Co-Founders Benoît Grassigny, Hugo Charrier & Arnaud Didry

Investors: 20 Business Angels including Blast.Club's Anthony Bourbon, Mathieu Blanchard, Stéphane Diagana & Thierry Omeyer
What's Next: The new cash will go towards accelerating growth in 3 key areas axes: product development (for organizers and runners), the integration of new outdoor disciplines (triathlon, cycling, swimming, etc.), and international expansion.

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