Insect firm on list of France’s most promising start-ups

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal
© GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal
French mealworm derived feed protein producer, Ÿnsect, has been selected as one of France’s 40 most promising startups – the NEXT40 index, a list of companies deemed to have the strongest prospects for global growth.

The NEXT40 index, revealed this week, was developed by the French government's Department of Digital Affairs to facilitate the rise of French startups as global tech leaders.

Companies must meet several criteria to be included in the index; they have to demonstrate significant fundraising and business growth.

Ÿnsect said it met and exceeded the full range of NEXT40 selection criteria, particularly on the fundraising side, with it generating $125m earlier this year in a Series C funding round.

Companies on the index are set to benefit from a range of support services including international profile-building activities.

A spokesperson for Ÿnsect told us the program is much like a one-stop shop for tech startups to help them overcome any administrative hurdles.

Companies chosen to join the NEXT40 index are selected by an independent jury chaired by Céline Lazorthes, an angel investor.

The index was published soon after the announcement on Tuesday [September 17] by French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the French government had convinced insurers and asset managers to commit to investing €5bn ($5.5bn) in homegrown startups over the next three years.

Those institutional investors can either invest capital directly into startups or channel their investments through established venture-capital funds.

'Investors are coming to France'

In the first semester of 2019, according to a report ​from EY, France-based startups raised €2.8bn ($3.1bn), a 43% increase over the previous year. 

Antoine Hubert, CEO of Ÿnsect, speaking to us after the company had raised $125m (€110m) in investment in February this year, the largest-ever ag-tech funding deal outside of the US, noted the investment community’s confidence in the French ag-tech sector:

“Investors are coming to France, and they are particularly attracted to the insect product production segment.”

June 2019 also saw Ÿnsect announce that it had received €20m backing from the EU Commission towards the launch of its fully automated industrial facility in Northern France to produce mealworm-derived protein.    

And, late last year, InnovaFeed, another French insect protein player, reported it had raised €40m in funding from international investors, bringing the total amount of funds it had generated in 2018 to over €55m.

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