Brief Business News
NEWS UPDATE AUGUST 2016
ATOS’s logo could not be missed on the accreditation straps worn loosely around the neck of visitors to the Rio Olympics village. The French company, a global leader in Information Technology services has been the worldwide partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games since Barcelona in 1992. After a resounding success in London in 2012, ATOS gave another faultless performance at Rio bringing innovation from Cloud to Cybersecurity to distribute services including the results of every single event to the world in less than half a second. The International Olympic Committee’s expenditure on High-Tech went almost entirely to ATOS. More ‘gold medal' equivalent performances are in the offing for ATOS as it has already signed up for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. It also manages the Pan-American and Asian Games reinforcing its world digital leadership for sporting events. (See also Section : Tech and Innovation : ATOS)
French engineering giant ALSTOM has won a large $2 billion contract to supply high-speed trains to the US on the Boston-New York-Washington line. ALSTOM makes the famous TGV high-speed trains in France. US Vice-President Joe Biden, a strong advocate of high-speed rail, said that the trains will serve a north-east corridor which is home to one out of every seven Americans and therefore very important to the US economy. A thousand persons will work on the project for ALSTOM including designers in France. (See also the Section Industrials : Alstom)
France's TELEPERFORMANCE, a world leader in call centers is buying California based LanguageLine Solutions, the US leader in online phone and video translation. The highly profitable US company provides instantaneous translation in 240 languages in sectors like health care, banking, insurance etc. With this acquisition, TELEPERFORMANCE adds another string to its bow and reinforces its global leadership.
NEWS UPDATE MARCH 2016
PARROT, the French company became in QI 2016, the world's No 1 general public and professional drone maker. Its drone activity which has a yearly turnover of nearly 200 million euros is currently growing at over 100% per annum. (See also, Section : Retail & Consumer : Parrot).
Source : Drone Industry Insights (Market research and analytics company based in Germany)
NEWS UPDATE FEBRUARY 2016
Vincent Bolloré's VIVENDI is taking stakes of over 15 per cent in UBISOFT and 30% in its sister company GAMELOFT and is seeking to take control of these world class French video game companies. The latter have produced such global hits as Assasin's Creed, Rayman, Raving Rabbids,Tom Clancy's Ghost recon, Just Dance, Prnce of Persia etc. Media conglomerate VIVENDI owns French video-sharing website Dailymotion, the TV company Canal Plus, Universal Music Group and is the largest shareholder of Telecom Italia.
NEWS UPDATE DECEMBER 2015
France's CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container shipping group is to buy Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines for $2.4 billion. With this acquisition CMA CGM becomes number one on the trans-Pacific routes towards the United States. The deal brings the French company close to the world's top two operators in size with a revenue of 22 billion dollars, a fleet of 553 vessels and 29000 employees worldwide.
NEWS UPDATE AUGUST 2015
France’s JCDecaux, has been awarded the world’s largest bus shelter digital advertising contract worth €700m over eight years by Transport for London (TfL).
JCDecaux which is the world’s number one Outdoor advertising company, had already been digitizing the towers at Heathrow Terminal 5, a 120m2 screen at London Waterloo and the Old Street Roundabout in London. The bus shelter contract which followed was obtained in the face of competition from US’s Clear Channel.
The digital technology used by JCDecaux means that mobile phones can download data from advertising panels. The technology also allows the use of interactive touchscreens and may eventually include voice recognition for a dialogue with digitalized advertising panels. (For further information see Section: Tech and Innovation : JCDecaux)
Apart from JCDecaux, French companies have the wind in their sails in the British capital at the moment: The state-owned Paris public transport company RATP now runs the world-famous red buses of London. Veolia has obtained the waste and recycling disposal contracts in many districts of London including Westminster, Bexley, Brent and Bromley. Vinci, the largest construction company in the world by revenue has signed a 25-year contract to manage the London 2012 Olympic Stadium which is seeking to become a multi-venue for hosting major sporting events. Thales the aeronautics, defence and transport electronics company has won contracts for renewing the signalling and train control systems for the London Underground (See below).
Sources: Bloomberg.com, lefigaro.fr, Financial times, bfm business
France's THALES, a global electronics leader in aerospace, transport and defense has been awarded a contract worth €1 billion by Transport for London (TfL). It will renew the signalling and train control systems on four London Underground lines. A few years ago two companies successively obtained this contract but TfL a local government body with a demanding reputation decided to terminate the deals on both occasions. TfL has now decided to put THALES in exclusive charge of the project.
What must have convinced TfL to take this decision is that THALES had already successfully completed the modernization of two other London underground lines in time for the London Olympics in 2012.
THALES is a world leader in Underground modern signalling with its technology being used in 40 of the largest cities in the world including New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Sources: lesechos.fr, railwaygazette.com
Florent Manaudou from Marseilles confirmed his stature as the world's fastest swimmer. He won the 50m freestyle sprint final at the World championship in Russia. He was already the gold medal winner for the same event at the London Olympics in 2012. Florent Manaudou is expected to obtain more lucrative advertising contracts following his latest performance.
NEWS UPDATE JULY 2015
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES the world leader in 3D software design and simulation is to double its sales. The name Dassault recalls the recent export orders of the Rafale fighter jets to India, Qatar and Egypt as well as the best-selling Falcon business jets. However, another offshoot of Dassault, now known as DASSAULT SYSTÈMES, reached world acclaim in the 1990s when its 3D software technology called Catia was used to create the Boeing 777, the world’s first commercial aircraft to be designed entirely on computer screens without carrying out physical prototyping.
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES 2015 revenue will be approaching the €3 billion mark and sales are expected to double by the end of 2019 as the company moves into new areas like environmentally sustainable design and heart surgery. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested that all new basic and fundamental research in heart surgery should use DASSAULT SYSTÈMES’ 3D software technology.
Sources: wsj.com, thenational.ae, online.barrons.com, Bfm business
( For more information see the Section : Tech & Innovation : Dassault Systèmes.)
Who would have thought eighteen years ago that Technicolor which went through a near-death experience at the time could one day become a world leader in the flourishing home video and television equipment market? By increasing its size through the purchase of Cisco’s cable and satellite TV set-top boxes and modems, the French technology group has done just that.
The deal with Cisco also means that Technicolor will reinforce its own activities in Connected Home terminals by taking over the American company’s patents in Internet access gateways and software integration. The icing on the cake for the French company is that the US giant is entering into partnership with it to develop cloud computing video solutions.
Another piece of good news for Technicolor is that it will obtain royalties, together with other companies like General Electric and Mitsubishi, from the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) patent which has recently become the video compression standard for Ultra High Definition. These royalties will be due for each relevant smartphone or television sold in the world.
Technicolor which is listed on the Euronext Stock Exchange in Paris has gained more than 50% since the beginning of the year.
Sources : Reuters.com, lesechos.fr, bfmbusiness.com
France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping company stands to benefit substantially from China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project to boost trade between Asia and Europe. Container shipping carries nearly 95% of the world’s manufactured goods.
On a visit to France, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a partnership deal with CMA CGM at the latter’s headquarters in Marseilles which positions the French company as an important player in the Chinese project.
The CMA CGM new ships have reduced their fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions have been lowered by no less than 40%. The company is growing at more than 5% annually with revenue of nearly $17 billion.
Sources: meretmarine.com, bfm busness
The French online marketplace Mirakl raised $20 million in the US for global expansion. Mirakl, a multi-award winning French technology firm is positioning itself as a key global player in a type of e-commerce called ‘online marketplace’. It provides a SaaS (software on-demand) platform for brand retailers, who are also the marketplace operators. The marketplace operators, their partner suppliers as well as consumers all benefit from the structure. The operators get a commission on each sale, the suppliers get more visibility on the internet and consumers get more choice and competitive prices. Mirakl claims technological leadership for its marketplace software solutions.
Sources : Bfm business, pehub.com
(For more information see the Section : Retail & Consumer : Mirakl)
Schneider Electric, France’s manufacturer of power distribution and automation systems is taking control of Britain’s Aveva. The takeover will create a global leader in providing industrial software to the manufacturing, power and marine sectors. The field of PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software is creating worldwide interest because of the increasing convergence between machines and software.
Before the takeover, Schneider Electric had already a turnover of €25 billion which put it among the world’s industrial giants. The company which has a strong presence in the US market, was founded in France in 1836 and is listed on the Euronext Stock Exchange in Paris.
Sources: gulfnews.com, lesechos.fr, online.wsj.com
The German Bosch Group has chosen French science and technology park Sophia Antipolis for its R&D center in driver-assistance systems, particularly those for the autonomous vehicle. Bosch, the world’s leading automotive parts manufacturer, sees the ecosystem at Sophia Antipolis as the best worldwide for competence in automated and connected vehicles technology. The German company has already 10 R&D centers across France where it has been present since 1899.
Sophia Antipolis is located in the countryside of the Côte d’Azur between Cannes and Nice. It has considerable R&D expertise in the connected-vehicle industry with the presence on its park of companies and organizations like Scaleo Chip and Huawei (imagery), Inria (visual systems analysis), ARM (semi-conductors), Toyota, BMW (automobile) etc. The objective for an automated vehicle is to make it take the right decisions in the driver’s place.
Sources: investincotedazur.com, lesechos.fr
Ebay’s PayPal recent spinoff put Frenchman Patrick Dupuis somewhat in the limelight. He joined PayPal in 2010 as Chief Financial Officer to help build a sustainable company that would expand globally. Patrick Dupuis graduated from the École de Management de Lyon in France. His success is a reminder that a number of top jobs in the global financial space notably in London and the US are filled by France-educated persons who are attracted by the career prospects and high salaries and bonuses offered in the English speaking countries.
France can claim to be the world leader in Finance education where high attainment in Mathematics is essential. The Financial Times 2014 Masters in Finance ranking puts six French Business Schools in the top fifteen with HEC (École des hautes études commerciales de Paris) leading the pack.
Apart from Patrick Dupuis some other successful Frenchmen on the world financial scene include Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Tidjane Thiam formerly CEO of Prudential and now CEO of Credit Suisse, Renaud Laplanche founder and Chief Executive of Lending Club the top peer to peer online lender.
Should Britain decide to leave the European Union at the forthcoming referendum, it is believed that Paris has all the requirements and competences to replace London as one of the centers in the Eurozone where large euro transactions will be handled.
Sources: bbc.com, lesechos.fr, Financial times
(See also the Section : Finance : Euronext)
NEWS UPDATE JUNE 2015
The explosion of the American, low cost Space X rocket which was in the process of taking supplies of food and water to the International Space Station may well reinforce the merits of its competitor, the more expensive Ariane 5 rocket. The latter which is produced by the France headquartered ARIANESPACE has proven its reliability with 65 consecutive successes from its launch site in French Guiana. However, the NASA backed Space X, whose CEO is billionaire Elon Musk, has itself had a string of 18 straight successes prior to the launch failure. It is expected to resume service shortly, once the reason for the explosion has been identified. In order to meet the challenge from Space X, ARIANESPACE has announced the development of a more price competitive successor to Ariane.
Sources: bbc.com, lemonde.fr, lesechos.fr
With 2250 exhibitors, the biggest Air Show in the world opened in Paris this month. For France, 2015 is proving to be a highly successful year in the aeronautics and space sector.
The Airbus group which forms a world duopoly in the aviaton market with its US competitor Boeing is solidly headquartered in Toulouse, under the successful leadership of Tom Enders, the CEO.
Dassault has received 48 export orders for its Rafale fighter plane and there is a deal with India for a further 36, pending.
Despite a strong rivalry between Boeing and Airbus in the civil aviation market, there is a growing partnership between Boeing and France. French companies successfully tendered as tier 1 suppliers for the revolutionary Boeing 787 Dreamliner. They included Dassault Systémes (software solutions), Labinal (wiring), Latécoère (passenger doors), Messier-Bugati-Dowty (main and nose landing gear, electric brakes), Michelin (tyres), Radiall (connectors), Thales (electric power conversion system, flight display, in-flight entertainment system) and Zodiac (emergency slides, primary electrical distribution …).
At the Paris Air Show this year, OneWeb chose Airbus Defense and Space to design and produce a fleet of 900 small satellites weighing less than 150kg each. Space will be peppered with these satellites to connect up the whole planet to Internet at a slashed price. The design and production of the first ten satellites will be carried out in Toulouse.
Sources: aviationweek.com, boeing.com, airbus.com, USA Today, Bfm business, lesechos.fr
The announcement by South Korean consumer electronics powerhouse Samsung that it is investing in France’s SIGFOX is a game changer for the latter. SIGFOX is creating a cheap ultra narrow-band communications network for connecting objects to Internet called the Internet of Things (IoT). With the Samsung deal, SIGFOX will jump from the 7 million objects it connects at the moment to a potential 200 million connected objects per year in 2020.
Samsung unveiled in Paris, its platform Artik which is made up of a range of electronic components. These are chips of different sizes which Samsung will include in its own consumer products like televisions, air conditioners, washing machines etc. to interconnect them. In addition Samsung will try to get developers who are creating connected objects worldwide to build their future products on the Artik platform.
The deal means Samsung will integrate SIGFOX’s technology in its Artik platform making the French company’s communication protocol an attractive proposition to the developers.
SIGFOX is currently extending its network from the Silicon Valley to the rest of the US. At $1 per device per year SIGFOX's network is very cheap to use.
It is believed that global spending on IoT will grow to more than $1.5 trillion by 2020.
Apart from SIGFOX, French startups like Withings, Netatmo, Parrot, Bodycap, Kolibree, Cityzen Sciences, Sen.se, Alima, Smokio, Blubee and many others are setting themselves up as key players on this market.
Sources: venturebeat.com, politico.eu, uncova.com, bfmtv.com
(For more detailed information on SIGFOX see the SECTION: INTERNET : SIGFOX)
Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2015 report which identifies the world’s top 100 largest luxury goods companies shows that France dominates the ranking. There are three French companies in the Top 10 including LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) the world’s number one luxury goods company by a long way.
LVMH has sales of $39 billion which is 2.7 times the turnover of the second ranked company.
Other French companies in the Top 10 are KERING and L’ORÉAL. HERMÈS, CHRISTIAN DIOR, CHANEL etc. are also world famous French brands.
Sources: deloitte.com, luxurysociety.com, lesechos.fr
Facebook’s decision this month to open an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research laboratory in Paris is hardly surprising. The Director of its two existing research teams in Menlo Park (California) and New York is a Frenchman, Yann LeCun, who received his engineering degree and PhD in Computer Science in Paris. Now, a New York University professor in Computer Science, he is a pioneer in a particular field of AI called ‘Deep Learning’. This algorithm-based machine learning technique bears the promise of dramatic improvements in getting computers to do perceptual tasks like speech recognition, natural language processing, real-time translation and image recognition.
Paris was chosen for Facebook’s new research team as it offers a rare concentration of talents in Mathematics and Computer Science which are two essential disciplines in Deep Learning. A few months ago when the American company decided to reinforce its AI research team, it had already turned, partly, to some of the French-trained sharpest brains in AI. Deep Learning is going through an exciting period and catching world attention with tech giants in the US competing for the leading minds in the field. (For more detailed information see the Section : Tech & Innovation : Artificial Intelligence)
Sources: newsroom.fb.com, spectrum.ieee.org, wsj.com
NEWS UPDATE MAY 2015
INGENICO, headquartered in Paris is the world leader in payment-terminal solutions. It is expanding rapidly in Asia Pacific especially China and also in the US. Its 15 million terminals are used in 124 countries which gives the company a 30% market share globally.
INGENICO has expertise with EMV (a standard developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa) and NFC (Near field Communication which enables contactless payment) terminals which accept smart cards which are also called chip cards. To protect Americans against fraud and allow them to pay for purchases abroad, the US is migrating from the Swipe-and-Sign magnetic stripe card system to EMV/NFC chip cards, in 2015. With this migration taking place, INGENICO stands to become a market leader in the US. The world market for the NFC contactless solution is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2016.
The French company is already the number one payment terminal provider in China with its subsidiary Landi. In order to accelerate development in China, it has recently also entered into a partnership with the Chinese company Fosun which has a large business foothold and investment capacity, Fosun will take a 20% minority stake in INGENICO's Chinese activities.
The French sovereign fund, Bpifrance has invested €360 million euros in INGENICO which is listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Paris.
(For more detailed information see the Section : Tech & Innovation : INGENICO)
French startup DRIVY which thanks to its online platform, allows a person’s personal car to be rented by others for a round-trip, is rapidly expanding into Europe. It has become the number one peer to-peer car rental service in Europe by buying its German competitor Autonetzer.
DRIVY raised €8 million of new capital in April to fund further expansion into Spain and other European countries and even outside Europe. The potential European market for this segment of the sharing economy is believed to run into billions of euros.
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) declared PARIS, for the second successive year, the world's number 1 city for hosting international congresses in 2014. This confirms that Paris is seen as a center for business tourism. Madrid came out third and London 6th. In the country rankings, the US came out first.
France's CRITEO, the rapidly growing advertising, retargeting, global technology company, has announced strong results for the first quarter of 2015. Compared to the same period in 2014, Revenue increased by 71% and Net income tripled. Total revenue for 2015 is expected to reach $1 billion. It's market capitalization on the Nasdaq is now over $2 billion.
CRITEO analyses browsing data, to enable e-commerce companies to efficiently engage and convert potential clients into paying customers through retargeted adverts. (For previous information on Criteo, see the section Tech & Innovation : Criteo)
CRITEO's R&D teams are based in Paris. The company's robust performance is driven by constant technology improvements to its predictive algorithms, the multi-screen solution it provides, as well as the rapidly growing mobile e-commerce market.
CRITEO has more than 1500 employees in offices spread out across the US, Europe and Asia who serve 40 countries and 5000 companies worldwide.
French inter-city ride-sharing online booking platform, BlaBlaCar is creating a world leader from its French base through acquisitions worldwide. In Germany it has bought up its smaller rival carpooling.com. A further acquisition in Europe is Hungary's AutoHop which also brings Romania, Serbia and Croatia into the BlaBlaCar network. Previously it had already taken over peers in Italy, Poland and Russia. After launching its service in India in January 2015, it set foot on American soil by buying Mexican company Rides.
In the mid-term, BlaBlaCar is looking to expand into the US. Unlike Uber, its business model means it has not had to enter into legal disputes. BlaBlaCar is also a true sharing-economy community as the fees charged by drivers are aimed at sharing costs rather than making profits. (For previous information on BlaBlaCar see the Section Transport : BlaBlaCar).
Information recall :
John Chambers the CEO of US's CISCO, the world's largest manufacturer of internet network hardware is to invest $100 million in French startups as part of a partnership agreement with the French state to take part in building a world leading digital infrastructure in France. He was impressed by the fact that 66 French companies were present at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year and won 14 of the top awards. During the last two years, France has had the world's largest delegation after the US at the CES which is the planet's largest 'Internet of Things' showcase. A Cisco top executive, close to John Chambers said that France had important skills in algorithms, mathematics, cryptography which correspond to the disruptive tchnologies of the moment. These skills, the executive added, put France at the forefront in the development of Internet of Things, Big data and Cybersecurity.
A South Korean company called STX is using skilled labour from France's Atlantic coast at Saint Nazaire to build the world's largest cruise ship for US's Royal Caribbean International. The 16-deck-high ship which is due for delivery in 2016 will be able to carry nearly 5500 passengers. It will cost €1 billion and require 10 million hours of work.
Saint Nazaire is also where two Mistral class warships worth €1.2 billion were being built for the Russian navy. The delivery of the warships was suspended by France after US concerns that the huge vessels would give the Russian military undue advantage at a time of tension over the Ukraine crisis. The two ships would have given Russia added capacity to launch attacks on coastlines from tanks and helicopters.
€ 15bn cash-rich VIVENDI (See below: ‘News update July to September 2014’) is buying Dailymotion from Paris-based telephone operator Orange. According to ComScore, Inc., Dailymotion is the world’s second biggest video-sharing website after YouTube. (See the Section Internet : Dailymotion)
After divesting more than €30 billion in assets recently, VIVENDI’s Chairman Vincent Bolloré is refocussing his company on pay-TV and the music industries. A media and entertainment world leader would be created combining Dailymotion’s Internet-video service with content from two enterprises owned by VIVENDI, that is, Canal Plus TV and the world’s largest recorded-music company, Universal Music Group.
VIVENDI is looking for other media acquisitions and partnerships in Europe. It is believed to have contacts with companies such as Spotify, the music streaming service to which it provides songs.
The French national railway SNCF has obtained full management control of the lucrative cross-Channel high speed train operator Eurostar. SNCF will own 55% of Eurostar. The European Commission approved the SNCF control of Eurostar subject to a commitment from the French national railway not to oppose entry of potential new operators. SNCF will also have exclusive control of Thalys, its subsidiary in which it owns 62% of the capital and which serves other routes to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Qatar is to buy 24 DASSAULT built Rafale fighter planes. The contract worth 6.3bn euro is the third this year for DASSAULT's Rafale after deals with Egypt and India (See News Update April 2015, below).
NEWS UPDATE APRIL 2015
Groupe GORGÉ is on a par with its US competitors as a top global player in 3D printing. Its engineers were already world renowned in subsea robotic systems, unmanned vehicles and heavy steel safety doors for protection in nuclear plants. They are now turning the 3D printing division of the company into a world-beating technology business in manufacturing (including parts for the aeronautical industry) and biomedical applications using materials like plastic, metal, resin as well as ceramic. The company is two-thirds owned by the GORGÉ family with Raphaël Gorgé as the CEO. 8% of the shares are owned by the French state investment bank Bpifrance. The rest of the capital is held by the public on the Euronext stock exchange in Paris.
France received orders in the last two months from India and Egypt for DASSAULT fighter planes in the face of stiff competition from the US. With AIRBUS (mainly civil aircraft, headquartered in Toulouse), SAFRAN (aero-engines), THALES (aerospace electronics), ZODIAC (aerospace equipment), ARIANESPACE (Ariane launch vehicles) and now DASSAULT, France is a confirmed world leader in the aeronautics and space industries. The Indian order was for 36 Rafale planes from DASSAULT with the possibility of separate orders for more of the fighters.
NEWS UPDATE MARCH 2015
France is becoming a world hub for INTEL's R&D in Near Field Communication (NFC) and future Mobile technologies. US's INTEL, a world leader in microprocessors, opened its seventh R&D lab in France near Aix-en-Provence. This new facility will develop NFC technology following an agreement last year in which France's INSIDE SECURE licensed its MicroRead technology to INTEL. The latter is working on future mobile technologies in five of its labs in the south of France at Sophia-Antipolis, Toulouse and Montpellier. INTEL now employs 850 engineers in France and integrates French-developed chips in its new range of processors called Atom. A smartphone equipped with this chip will function like a NFC card and allow contactless payment for purchases. It will also allow the smartphone to read electronic labels in order, for example, to access information on paintings during a museum visit etc. (For previous information on Inside Secure see the Section, Tech and Innovation : Inside Secure).
French acoustic engineers at DEVIALET has come up with a wireless, all in one amplifier-speaker Hi-Fi system, which is winning world acclaim for its ‘amazing’ crystal clear sound quality and futuristic design. This up-market product called Phantom is just 30 cm long and uses the analogue-digital hybrid (ADH) technology developed by DEVIALET. At Harrods in London, Colette in Paris and Shanghai in China, the basic 750 watts Phantom system costs $1990 while the higher end 3000 watts Silver Phantom sells for $2390. Worldwide orders are flowing in and production is expected to reach 4000 units a week by the end of the year. Shareholders in DEVIALET include French billionaires Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of the world’s top luxury company, LVMH and Xavier Niel founder and owner of Telecom operator, IIiad.
NEWS UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015
John Chambers the CEO of US's CISCO, the world's largest manufacturer of internet network hardware is to invest $100 million in French startups as part of a partnership agreement with the French state to take part in building a world leading digital infrastructure in France. He was impressed by the fact that 66 French companies were present at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year and won 14 of the top awards. During the last two years, France had the largest world delegation after the US at the CES which is the world's largest 'Internet of Things' showcase.
(See also further information on French startup funding in the Section Finance : Bpifrance)
The popular social game Criminal Case can now be downloaded from the iTunes App Store. This investigative, detective-themed game is produced in Paris by the French studio PRETTY SIMPLE which was founded in 2010. Each week, Criminal Case provides a new police investigation to test the detective skills of the players. Criminal Case was voted the best game on Facebook in 2013.
Former French extreme sportsman turned entrepreneur Taïg Khris has developed a revolutionary mobile application called OnOff which allows the creation and then the use of several phone numbers on a smartphone from a single SIM card. The numbers are locked in the ‘Cloud’ and can be turned on or off at any time. He explained the functioning of OnOff during an interview on Le Web 2014 in Paris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkAxg1vFBqE).
Taïg Khris has won gold medals at the X games which made him an inline skating legend. He is also famous for his stunts like jumping off the Eiffel tower wearing roller blades.
SIGFOX, the telecom operator providing low-cost narrowband network technology for connected objects ('Internet of things'), raised an impressive €100 million ($113m) in a funding round. The investors included its historic French venture capitalists like Partech, French industrial groups (GDF Suez, Air liquide), prestigious telecom operators including NTT DoCoMo (Japan) and SK Telecom (South Korea) as well as the US hedge fund Elliott Management. Bpifrance, the French public bank for investment put €17m ($19m) on the table. SIGFOX will use the funds to expand into the US and set itself up for an eventual IPO.
(For previous information on SIGFOX see the Section Internet: Sigfox).
The technology of TEADS, the French startup, allows adverts to be placed at the heart of publisher's articles. Before TEADS publishers had to provide video content on their websites in order to house video ads and this proved very expensive.The company raised $30 million at the beginning of 2015 to finance innovation and its global expansion.
(For more details see the Section Internet: Teads)
The startup Echy hit the headlines with its innovative, energy saving, award-winning hybrid lighting system. The company's technology uses roof mounted solar captors installed on a panel which swivels so that it always faces the sun. The captors are made of optical lenses which concentrate sunlight and send this natural light indoors through fibre-optic cables. The system is a hybrid one because if there is not enough sunlight outside, backup LED lights take over. It was announced that Echy had integrated recently the Valence TGV Ecoparc's business incubator of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the South-East of France.
NEWS UPDATE JANUARY 2015
The 3D computer animated film 'Despicable Me 2' created entirely in Paris by Mac Guff has become US's Universal most profitable film in its 100-year history. (For further information see the Section on Retail & Consumer: Mac Guff, Ubisoft, Gobelins).
NEWS UPDATE DECEMBER 2014
RENAUD LAVILLENIE, who inspired the logo of FranceTechBizNews, was voted 2014 male World Athlete of the Year by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). During 2014, LAVILLENIE cleared 6.16m to break Bubka's 21-year-old pole vault world record.
RNEWS UPDATE NOVEMBER 2014
French startup WEEZEVENT wins the world-renowned Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA 2014 Technology award for the fastest growing European company over the last five years. WEEZEVENT is considered the premium online event ticketing solution in several European countries. It registered a remarkable 43202% revenue growth over the last five years.
This is the third consecutive year that a French company has been the overall winner. Digital cinema specialists YMAGIS was the winner in 2013. The Internet advertising retargeting company CRITEO was crowned in 2012 (See FranceTechBizNews Section-Tech and Innovation).
Several articles have appeared in the media recently (notably from Blomberg.com) which show that France is gathering its assets to confrm its position as a world-class scientific, technological and business hub able to compete with high-technology business districts like Silicon Valley and Cambridge (Massachusetts). Reported events in November 2014, which are being covered by this website (FranceTechBizNews) include:
● The setting up of the GE-Alstom renewable energy global headquarters in Nantes. This 50/50 joint-venture between US's General Electric and Alstom will include R&D in offshore wind energy and hydrokinetic power from tides or underwater currents.
● The Paris-Saclay cluster which is under construction in the south of Paris. The campus which will cover an area of more than 500 hectares aims to be a center for scientific and business cooperation in order to generate innovations. It will bring together universities, French higher education institutions called grandes écoles (Polytechnique, Centrale, Supélec…), large companies (Airbus Group, EDF, Renault, Siemens, Air liquide…), public research centers (CNRS, CEA, Inra…) and private companies’ laboratories.
● The construction of the world’s largest digital incubator in Paris which will come on stream in 2016 (See the Section-Tech and Innovation: Xavier Niel Incubator & 42).
● The Chinese telecommunications equipment company Huawei decision to invest $1.9 billion on R&D facilities in France over the next three years.
● The French President's pledge that the R&D tax break called Crédit Impôt Recherche which amounts to €5.6 billion this year will be maintained despite France’s present budget deficit reduction. He does not want to touch a fiscal measure which is encouraging foreign companies, to set-up laboratories and to hire French world-class software developers, in France.
NEWS UPDATE OCTOBER 2014
The French biotech company DBV TECHNOLOGIES has obtained FastTrack Designation from US's Federal Drug Administration for introducing to the market its immunology patch against Peanut allergy. This would be a blockbuster for DBV TECHNOLOGIES as Peanut allergy concerns three million Americans and a treatment for it represents a potential market of one billion dollars.
Nestlé will use 1000 humanoid robots called Pepper to sell its coffee machines in Japan. Pepper is developed in Paris by French company Aldebaran Robotics. (For further information on Aldebaran Robotics see our Section on Tech & Innovation)
On October 13th JEAN TIROLE, a French economist at the Toulouse School of Economics was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for studying how markets can be imperfect or inefficient and what governments can do to regulate them. A central part of Mr TIROLE's work is based on densely mathematical models that describe monopolies, oligopolies and markets.
NEWS UPDATE JULY TO SEPTEMBER 2014
The BEL GROUP headquartered in Paris has opened a $140 million factory in Brookings, South Dakota to produce Mini Babybel cheese, a popular snack in the US. The Group has already two US factories in Kentucky and Wisconsin. The packing of Mini Babybel is unique with each ellipsoid shaped piece of soft cheese encased in red wax.
France-based VIADEO, the world’s second biggest professional network launched an Initial Public offering (IPO) in July 2014 on Euronext in Paris. Through this operation, it aims to increase membership numbers in non-English speaking countries especially in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia and especially China where it is already the leader. However, with its 60 million members VIADEO is still a long way from the 300 million plus membership of the California-based US giant LinkedIn.
Since the middle of 2013, French conglomerate VIVENDI has become cash rich when it sold its stake in Maroc Telecom for €4.2bn and that in Activision Blizzard, the Californian gaming company for $8.2bn. It has also agreed to sell its telecom unit in France, SFR, to a European cable group with a cash payment €13.5bn, while keeping a stake in the group. It is now in the process of selling its Brazilian telecommunications business for $10bn to Spain’s telecom company Telefonica, and here again keeping a stake in the Telefonica Brazilian unit. VIVENDI will therefore still be a telecoms player but the deals will ensure that it will now be able to distribute its content production to the new partners. VIVENDI owns Canal Plus pay-tv unit and Universal Music Group, the world’s largest recorded-music company.
MEDTECH from Montpellier has obtained Chinese market authorization for its surgical robot ROSA Brain. The company designs, manufactures and sells surgical assistance robots. (For further information on MEDTECH see our Section on Health)
French Billionaire Vincent Bolloré who runs the successful Paris Autolib, is extending his electric car hiring service abroad. The cars are powered by the patented lithium-metal-polymer car batteries manufactured by Bolloré Group's Blue Solutions which went public on the Euronext in Paris. The share has gained 74% since the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in October 2013. Bolloré Group has won a contract from Transport for London (TfL) to introduce an electric car service based on the French Autolib model with thousands of new vehicle-charging points and 100 Bluecars built by Bolloré in service by March 2015 in the British capital. Bolloré Group is also bringing the electric car-share service to Indianapolis in the US.
The 2014 Lasker award for Clinical Medical Research went to Frenchman Alim-Louis Benabib and American Mahlon Delong. They were honoured for their work in the development of deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson's disease. Professor Benabib is Chairman of Clinatec a French bio-medical research center partly funded by the bank, Le Credit Agricole. The distinction often leads to the Nobel prize in Medicine.
The French digital security multinational GEMALTO is to buy US-based data protection specialist SafeNet for $890 million. GEMALTO designs and manufactures security software for biometric passports, payment bank cards containing chips etc. SafeNet protects most of the world’s intra-bank fund transfers.
Bpifrance, the French public investment bank is funding increasingly mid-cap companies. In June 2014, it invested €180 million in Sermeta, the world leader in stainless steel exchangers for condensation gas boilers. The company supplies the biggest boiler manufacturers worldwide.