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Paris International Agricultural Show : Focus on Five X Start-Ups in AgriTech

The 58th Paris International Agricultural Show took place from February 26 to March 6. On this occasion, the French government announced the launch of a new program, Agri20, to support innovative startups in the sector. Take a look at five X AgriTech startups : Thegreendata, Proteme, Fruition Sciences, Farmwise and Ÿnsect.
28 Feb. 2022
Entrepreneurship, Innovation

The 58th edition of the Paris International Agricultural Show (PIAS), a major international meeting of agriculture and agribusiness, took place from February 26th to March 6th after being cancelled in 2021 and shortened the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The PIAS 2022 was the occasion for the French authorities to announce the launch of the new Agri20 ranking designed on the model of the Next40, which brings together the most successful and promising French Tech companies.

Agri20 is designed to highlight and support 20 high-potential innovative companies in the agriculture and agri-food sector each year, including startups in the digital technology sector, startups with expertise in industrial technologies (robotics, connected equipment, energy production, new forms of farming, new food processes, etc) and startups in life sciences (genetics, biotechnologies, carbon farming). Applications opened on February 28th and the selection will be unveiled in May. 

The French government had already launched initiatives to support the sector. On August 30, 2021, the French AgriTech was created to accelerate the development of agricultural innovation with 200 million euros of funding.

Several AgriFood and AgriTech start-ups have been co-founded by X alumni or are incubated within X-Up, the X start-up booster. You will find below a focus on five of them:

The GreenData, co-founded in 2014 by Jérémie Wainstain (X1990), specializes in the implementation of Data-Analytics solutions for the agriculture and food industry. The start-up relies on algorithms and Big Data to develop innovative decision support tools for economic and institutional partners of farmers as well as industrialists in the food chain, farm cooperatives and trading groups. It has raised €2.5 million in 2019 from FIRECA, Crédit Agricole's innovation and research fund, and two other venture capital funds (Paris Region Venture Fund and UI gestion) as well as an individual investor.

Proteme develops a natural food coating solution for fruits and vegetables that extends the shelf life of protected foodstuffs. Using natural defense mechanisms against biological aggression, this protection acts as a second skin for the products. This natural coating extends the shelf life of protected foodstuffs by several weeks. Proteme was founded by three engineers with complementary skills: Valentin Sabatet, a research engineer in biology, Benjamin Vignard, specialized in agri-food, and Paul Malfoy, specialized in agri-marketing. In 2020, Proteme was the winner of the Student Entrepreneurship Day and a finalist in the Social Cup in France. It is currently incubated at X-Up, the Ecole Polytechnique start-up booster, and has joined the "Shaker" program of the Genopole, the French biocluster dedicated to biotherapies, research in genetics, genomics, post-genomics, xenobiology and the development of biotechnology industries.

Fruition Sciences, founded in 2008 by Sébastien Payen (X1998), a mechanical engineer specializing in new technologies, and Thibaut Scholasch, an oenologist and expert in monitoring the effects of environmental stresses on vine physiology and the quality of fruit and wine. It sells an online decision tool for winemakers and grape-growers who wish to optimize vineyard management, improve wine quality and yield. Fruition Sciences helps winemakers and grape-growers to optimize the performance of their blocks (quality, yield) thanks to a better knowledge of the vine. Its "360viti" web-based decision support platform enables the physiological state of vineyards to be visualized at any time and decisions to be made on matters such as irrigation, fertilization and harvesting. It is intended for winegrowers, oenologists, but also for cooperative wineries and consultants around the world. Launched in the United States, Fruition Sciences then moved back to France, in Montpellier, while keeping a unit in California.

Farmwise co-founded in 2016 by Sebastien Boyer (X2011) and Thomas Palomares (X2011) in San Francisco, USA,  builds andoperates automated mechanical weeders to increase agricultural productivity and make it more sustainable by eliminating herbicide use. FarmWise is based on patented technology that combines AI, computer vision and robotics to eliminate weeds in early cropvegetable fields. Its latest robot model, the Titan FT-35, consists of a self-propelled tractor and a smart tool that encompasses an array of cameras and sensors, along with robotic arms. In December 2017, after building a prototype, Farmwise completed an initial fundraising round of $5.7 millions to develop its second-generation robot available in 2018, allowing it to start a pilot program with two initial customers in California. In March 2019, Farmwise partnered with U.S. automotive supplier Roush, to build the third generation of its robotic weeders, the Titan FT-35. In September 2019, the startup raised $14.5 million in a new funding round.

Ÿnsect, co-founded in 2011 by Jean-Gabriel Levon (X 2005), transforms insects into premium, high-value ingredients for feeding farmed fish and poultry. Ÿnsect leverages disruptive technologies protected by 300 patents from 30 families, enabling it to raise Molitor and Buffalo beetles in vertical farms with a negative carbon footprint. It exports its products worldwide. Ÿnsect is a Next 40 company, certified B Corp (a certification granted to companies with high social and environmental standards). Ÿnsect built its third production unit, the world's largest vertical farm, largely automated and named Ynfarm, in Amiens, France, in 2021. It already operated two sites, one in France (since 2016) and the other in the Netherlands (since 2017). The 200-employee company had closed a $425 millions round of financing in October 2020 from investment funds, banks and public institutions.