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Tag Archives: france newsletter

Shadow announces a new box for its cloud gaming service

French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow , is updating its physical box that lets you connect to your cloud computer instance. Shadow Ghost is a tiny device that provides all the ports and wireless technologies that you need to plug to a TV or a monitor and start playing. Shadow has been building a cloud computing service for gamers. For $35 per month, you get a gaming PC in a data center near you. Shadow gives you 8 threads on an Intel Xeon 2620 processor, an Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPU that performs more or less as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s a full Windows 10 instance and you can do whatever you want with it. The company started with a dedicated box from day one. The first Shadow box was an oddly-shaped black box with a few USB ports and DisplayPorts. This way, you could replace your PC at home with this box and use the same peripherals. When you turn it on, it feels like you’re booting up your gaming PC, but you’re actually just starting a computer with a low-powered CPU that connects to your gaming PC in the cloud. Over the past few months, Shadow has slowly decorrelated the service from the physical device in your home. When you subscribe, you don’t get a box by default

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Tempow’s Bluetooth stack can improve your TV setup

French startup Tempow has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol at a low level to make it more versatile. The company is introducing a new audio profile for your TV or set-top box. TV and set-top box manufacturers can license Tempow’s software and integrate new features in their devices. It works with regular Bluetooth chips, but it opens up new possibilities. In particular, Tempow has been working on a one-to-many pairing model. You can pair multiple Bluetooth speakers with your TV to create a wireless surround system using good old Bluetooth speakers. The reason why soundbars slowly replaced 5.1 systems is that you don’t have to run cables on the floor to the back speakers. Tempow solves that, and Bluetooth speakers are much cheaper than a bunch of Sonos speakers. With Tempow’s stack, you can also stream different audio tracks to different devices. In other words, you could pair multiple headphones with your TV and watch a movie in different languages. If your kid is too young to read subtitles, you no longer need to make compromises. You can also configure each speaker individually so that you can reproduce the same sound profile across the board, even if you’re using speakers from different brands. The startup first worked on an audio profile for smartphones

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Meero raises $45 million for its on-demand photography service

Have you ever wondered why photos on Airbnb, UberEats and your favorite hotel platform always look so good? French startup Meero has been working on a marketplace and AI-powered technology to make it easy to get good photos of products and places. The company has raised a new $45 million round led by Alven Capital and Idinvest. Eight months ago, Meero already raised $15 million from Global Founders Capital, Aglaé Ventures, Alven Capital and White Star Capital. “We focused on this idea because we wanted to make the web beautiful,” co-founder and CEO Thomas Rebaud told me last year. “We realized that we are all on Instagram and that photos are beautiful. But then, you go on a marketplace and photos aren’t great.” The company first looked at the real estate market and partnered with real estate companies to optimize the photography process as much as possible. It starts with finding a photographer. Instead of working with hundreds of photographers in hundreds of cities, Meero lets you find a photographer in over a hundred countries. Prices, contracts and processes are all standardized in order to avoid any surprise. Meero takes a cut on every transaction. After the shooting, photographers usually have to spend hours selecting and editing the best photos.

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Alan introduces Alan Blue, a high-end health insurance product

French startup Alan has been mostly focused on its main health insurance product — a standard package for companies of all sizes and shapes. The company is launching a second offering on this market with Alan Blue . Companies can now choose between two levels of insurance — Alan Green and Alan Blue. Alan Green is the existing health insurance product with a new name. It still costs the same and offers the same level of coverage. Alan Blue is a higher-end product with better coverage for companies who want to retain talent using better benefits. French employees automatically get basic coverage from the national healthcare system. But companies also need to provide a health insurance from a private company to pay for part of the health expenses. It’s a hybrid system with a strong legal framework. This is where Alan comes along as your employer signs a deal with an insurance company to cover all their employees. Usually, insurance companies provide multiple offerings. But Alan has historically focused on a single plan.

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Doctrine raises $11.6 million for its legal search engine

French startup Doctrine is raising a $11.6 million funding round (€10 million) from existing investors Otium Venture and Xavier Niel. Doctrine is building a search engine for court decisions and other legal texts. This is a key tool if you’re a lawyer or you’re working in the legal industry in general. There are now a thousand companies using the service. It currently costs around €129 per user per month. A little back-of-the-envelope calculation lets you see that Doctrine currently has a monthly recurring revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Doctrine competes with Dalloz and LexisNexis. These databases have been hugely popular because it’s been so hard to list court decisions. Not only Doctrine managed to get a ton of data, but they also have better technology to search through all these entries. France is currently trying to share as much open data as possible. Eventually, court decisions could be accessible to anyone. But there are many challenges to overcome as each decision needs to be anonymized. So it might not be a data-driven industry in a few years, but a tech-driven industry. Automating the indexation of court decisions and new laws is going to be key as more and more data becomes accessible

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Lime scooters are live in Paris

Lime is the hot new thing in San Francisco, but will it work in other countries? The company just launched its electric scooter service in Paris. This isn’t the first European city as Lime is also operating in Berlin, Bremen, Frankfurt and Zurich. But it’s a significant launch as alternative mobility solutions have all been trying to grab some market share in Paris. Yesterday, you could see 200 scooters in the South East of Paris ready to be deployed. Lime plans to expand its fleet over time. Every day, the company will collect all the scooters at 9 PM to recharge them and put them back on the streets at 5 AM. Between October and January, four bike-sharing services launched in Paris — GoBee Bike, Obike, Ofo and Mobike. GoBee Bike has left the market since then because it was underfunded and suffering from too much competition. But Mobike and Ofo seem to be doing really well, especially if you compare it to the docked bikes — Vélib is more or less broken right now. Vélib started in 2007, years before cities like New York and London adopted a bike-sharing system.

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Feed raises $17.4 million for its Soylent-like food products

French startup Feed is raising a $17.4 million funding round (€15 million) from Alven and Otium Brands. Feed has been selling meal replacement products in Europe and now plans to expand to other countries. There are multiple variations of Feed. The company started with a powder-based product that represents the equivalent of one meal. You add some water, shake it a bit and drink it. You can now also buy the equivalent of a cereal bar with everything you need to stay alive. It sounds a bit like Soylent , which itself sounds a bit like SlimFast and all those products from the 1980s and 1990s. It’s worth noting that Soylent only sells in the U.S. and Canada. Feed products are vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, GMO-free and made in France. A few months ago, I bought a bottle of Feed powder to give it a try — I wasn’t particularly convinced. But it sounds like many people like it — the company has sold 1 million kilograms of powder, which represents over 6.5 million bottles in total. In 2018, Feed plans to generate $11.6 million in revenue. Feed doesn’t think you should replace all your meals with a Feed product

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Comet grabs $12.8 million for its engineering freelancer platform

French startup Comet (not to be confused with Zyl , which was formerly named Comet) is building a marketplace of talented tech and data freelancers as well as companies that are looking for engineers and teams for a specific project. The company just raised a $12.8 million funding round (€11 million) with Otium Venture and Daphni. While Comet got tens of thousands of applications, Comet is working with 1,700 freelancers right now. This is a different approach from Upwork , Malt and other existing marketplaces. With Comet, companies can get freelancers on demand, without having to scan through hundreds of profiles. 100 clients are using the platform to connect and hire freelancers . Companies upload their assignments and the Comet team matches freelancers with the right job within 48 hours. Comet currently generates around $1.16 million in transaction volume per month (€1 million). “100 percent of our freelancers are doing this full time,” co-founder and CEO Charles Thomas told me. “On average, they earn 60 percent more than when they were employees.

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50 tech CEOs come to Paris to talk about tech for good

Ahead of VivaTech , 50 tech CEOs came to Paris to have lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. Then, they all worked together on “tech for good”. The event was all about leveraging tech around three topics — education, labor and diversity. At the end of the day, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe invited everyone for a speech in Matignon. It wasn’t a groundbreaking speech as Macron is also speaking at VivaTech tomorrow morning. “We’re trying to pivot France,” Philippe said. With great power comes great responsibility Édouard Philippe Maurice Lévy, the former CEO of Publicis, one of the two companies behind VivaTech with Les Échos, first introduced the event, as well as Eric Hazan from McKinsey. McKinsey worked on the data that was used to start those discussions. So let’s see what they talked about. “As McKinsey showed, there’s no question that technology overall is a net creator of job and GDP. It’s a positive force,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. “At the same time, AI and automation, while driving the economy and productivity, … will lead to large groups being disadvantaged.” He then listed a few important points to make sure that nobody is going to be left behind, such as coaching and mentorship programs. “This is not just the government’s job but it is also the job of private companies,” Khosrowshahi added. He wanted to remain hopeful and it felt a bit like a lobbying effort. “It’s easy to see the lost of jobs because of automation

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Tempow raises $4 million to improve Bluetooth

French startup Tempow has raised a $4 million funding round. Balderton Capital led the round, with C4 Ventures also participating. The company has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol to make it more versatile. Smartphones, speakers and connected devices all use Bluetooth in one way or another. There are only a handful of Bluetooth chipset manufacturers in the world, such as Qualcomm and Broadcom. While Bluetooth chips have become incredibly efficient as they use much less power than they used to, it’s been stagnant on the software front. Tempow is a software company that wants to rewrite the Bluetooth stack from scratch. The company started with an audio profile. Thanks to Tempow’s technology, you can connect a phone to multiple Bluetooth speakers at once. This is just a software improvement — it works with standard Bluetooth chipsets and all Bluetooth audio devices out there. Lenovo liked this idea and licensed the technology for its Moto X4 handset. More than 5 million devices with Tempow’s Bluetooth stack have been sold. With today’s funding round, the startup wants to tackle more use cases.

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IBM plans to hire 1,800 people in France for blockchain and AI

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty is currently having lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. And Rometty talked with Le Monde and announced some new investments in France as part of the Tech for Good Summit organized by Macron. The company plans to hire 1,800 new people in France over the next couple of years. While this isn’t really groundbreaking as IBM has 380,000 employees around the world, it’s interesting to see the focus of these hires. IBM plans to put together a research team focused on blockchain projects, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. This hiring plan still represents pocket change for such a big company with hundreds of thousands of people. Le Monde also noticed that IBM has reduced its team in France for years. Since 2012, IBM has cut more or less as many people as the company plans to hire. IBM clients in France include Orange Bank, SNCF and LVMH.

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Platform.sh raises $34 million to simplify cloud deployment

French startup Platform.sh has raised a $34 million funding round. The company wants to help you manage your cloud infrastructure by handling the most tedious part of the job. When you use Platform.sh for your application, the startup is going to handle testing and deployment to your cloud infrastructure. Every time you want to iterate and update your application to a new version, deployment is as easy as a git commit. Partech is leading the round, with Idinvest Partners, Benhamou Global Ventures, SNCF Digital Ventures and existing investor Hi Inov also participating. Platform.sh targets big clients. The company is currently working with 650 enterprise clients, such as Magento, Gap Inc. and The Financial Times. In 2018, revenue has more than doubled compared to the same period last year. Platform.sh can create new instances and deploy clones of your web applications in less than 60 seconds. That’s how you can deploy with confidence and save time. The idea is that Platform.sh helps you deploy 10 times or 20 times per day. Your users won’t see a difference as your website will remain available during the entire day.

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OpenClassrooms raises another $60 million

French startup OpenClassrooms is raising $60 million from General Atlantic, with existing investors Citizen Capital, Alven and Bpifrance also participating. OpenClassrooms is the most popular massive open online course platform in France. But the startup has evolved beyond on-demand courses to provide full-fledged degrees. You can now get a degree certified by the French state by studying full time on OpenClassrooms. Every month, 3 million users access OpenClassrooms. Many of them just want to learn something and maybe get a certification. But more and more people are following one of the 30 bachelor and master degrees. You can study many things from web and mobile development to data management and marketing. But OpenClassrooms isn’t just leaving you with a big pile of courses to study. The company has created a community of mentors who will regularly check with you to see how you’re doing. There are 600 mentors working for OpenClassrooms.

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Canal+ gives up on its cable box, switches to Apple TV

French premium cable television company Canal+ is slowly moving away from building its own set top boxes. As Next INpact spotted , you can now subscribe to Canal+ and get an Apple TV 4K with Canal+’s myCanal app already preloaded. Canal+ has been around for decades and was the first premium TV channel in France. Over the years, the company started distributing all sorts of premium channels through satellite, cable and partnerships with internet service providers. While you had to get your own Canal+ set top box to receive Canal+ 15 years ago, the company’s own box has slowly become irrelevant. As all the main French internet service providers give you a set top box, Canal+ has partnered with them to offer multiple add-ons to receive Canal+’s content. When Canal+ announced its most recent device, Canal+ already said that you’d get a better experience with the myCanal app on the Apple TV. That’s why Canal+ is betting everything on over-the-top distribution . If you don’t subscribe to Canal+ through your ISP, you can get an Apple TV 4K for €6 per month in addition to your TV package. If your internet connection isn’t fast enough or you’d rather use satellite TV, you can still get a Canal+ set top box. But the writing is on the wall. Most people will soon watch Canal+ through myCanal on Android TV, tvOS, iOS, Android, a Samsung TV and desktop computers. In France, Molotov and myCanal have been some of the top performing apps for tvOS and Android TV.

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