FrenchFounders' inaugural Startup Tour, an event set up to promote French innovation around the world, culminated in an immensely successful grand finale in September hosted by BNP Paribas in New York. Eight finalists fought it out for supremacy following a series of local competitions held across the US, Canada and France that took in 200 initial applications.
Eight French start-ups battle it out at BNP Paribas New York as the bank sponsors FrenchFounders for its first ever Startup Tour.
Each participating startup had at least one French-speaking founder and was located (or in the process of establishing a location) in North America, with a jury comprising a panel of nine notable C-Suite jurors from various industries. These included the Vice Chairman of Colgate Palmolive, Franck Moison, and Deputy CEO of Eurazeo, Virginie Morgon.
In attendance was Mounir Mahjoubi, the French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, who kicked off proceedings by noting the global growth of French tech and entrepreneurship. He also highlighted the importance of diversity and, in particular, the empowerment of women in tech as essential foundations for further growth: "If you want different companies, you need different people."
Each of the eight finalists presented a four-minute pitch, followed by a two-minute Q&A in front of the jury. While the jury deliberated, Sabrina Quagliozzi of BFM TV chaired a discussion transatlantic development with French Parliament member Roland Lescure and investor Frédéric Montagnon.
- 1st prize (Jury's prize): Thibault Ava
Thibault developed a speech-to-text app that is helping to break down communication barriers between the deaf and hearing worlds.
- AAGEF prize (French Grandes Écoles Alumni Association): DiabNext
The world's first auto-filled log-book and next-generation intelligent care platform for diabetic patients and healthcare professionals.
- People's Choice Prize: CybelAngel
A cybersecurity start-up that deploys a proprietary big data algorithm to explore the non-indexed internet to protect major firms from costly data leaks.
"If you want different companies, you need different people"
Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs