École polytechnique: Start-ups from École Polytechnique’s community raised nearly €300 million since early January

Start-ups created or managed by École Polytechnique’s alumni have raised nearly 300 million euros since the beginning of the year, compared to 877.2 million euros for the whole of 2020, which was already disrupted by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eight of them have benefited from a capital increase of at least 10 million euros, although the amount raised by Iznes, an online subscription platform for collective investment funds, has not been disclosed. Three of them are dedicated to business services (Payfit, Pennylane and Iziwork), two are fintechs (Pedg and Izines), two others are medtechs (Volta Medical and NABLA), while Altaroad is active in the mobility sector.

You will find below a presentation of their activity and their development.

Payfit co-founded in 2015 by Florian Fournier (X 2013), has developed an integrated solution for digitizing human resources processes (payroll, social declarations, work absences and leaves, expense reports, onboarding new employees, employee directory, etc.). The start-up, which is part of the Next 40, has raised €90 million from Eurazeo and Bbpifrance via its Large Venture fund. Its historical investors Accel, Frst and Xavier Niel, founder of Illiad (Free) have confirmed their support. PayFit has raised a total of €179 million since its creation in 2016. It claims over 5,000 SME customers across France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK.

Iziwork, co-founded in 2018 by Alexandre Dardy (X1998), offers temporary workers simple and instant access to a wide range of assignments via a digitalized platform. It raised €35 million in January from Cathay Innovation and Bpifrance, bringing the total funds raised since its founding to €55 million.

PennyLane offers a shared platform accessible by subscription between accountants and company managers to help them better manage their cash flow. Co-founded in January 2020 by Arthur Whaller (X2010), the start-up had already raised 4 million euros in a seed round. In January, it raised a new €15 million round of financing from Global Founders Capital and Partech.

Pledg, co-founded in 2016 by Benoît Liénart (Master of Physics 2004) was initially specialized in joint purchases between friends before launching into fractional payment solutions dedicated to individuals and professionals who buy on online shopping sites and in stores. Available in 9 European countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal) its service has been adopted by nearly 100 retailers including ManoMano, Decathlon, Odalys, Acuitis or Leroy Merlin. The company has raised 80 million euros to accelerate its growth.

Izness, founded in 2017 by a consortium of six fund management companies and led by Christophe Lepitre (X 83), is a pan-European platform for buying and selling collective investment schemes (CIS) using blockchain technology and facilitating their subscription, by-passing banking intermediaries, from initial contact to record keeping. The insurer Generali and the social protection group Apicil joined its round of financing in January for an undisclosed amount.

Volta Medical, founded in 2014 in Marseille by three physicians and Théophile Mohr Durdez (X 2014) is developing a new treatment protocol for atrial fibrillation, the most common arrhythmia in the world. The condition affects more than 30 million patients worldwide, and the number is expected to double in the next decade, with nearly 200,000 new cases per year. Volta Medical’s algorithm allows surgeons to accurately identify diseased areas of heart muscle in the operating room. It raised 23 million euros at the beginning of the year. The deal, led by the Gilde Healthcare fund with Groupe Pasteur Mutualité, already a shareholder, brings the total amount raised by the company to nearly 27 million after its capital opening in October 2018. With this new contribution, Volta Medical intends to set a new standard with its cardiology artificial intelligence (AI), which has already received EU recognition and FDA approval.

Nabla, co-founded in 2018 by Alexandre Lebrun (X 94) who is the CEO, is developing a free personalized medicine health app dedicated to women. The tool, available on AppStores and using artificial intelligence, allows women to directly ask questions to multiple practitioners, keep a health journal, consult a library of specific content or exchange documents with their doctors. The start-up has raised 17 million euros from business angels such as Xavier Niel and Rachel Delacour, a family office (Artémis) and the fund Firstminute Capital.

Altaroad, co-founded in December 2017 by Bérangère Lebental (X 2003), has developed a mobile and connected solution for weighing road vehicles in motion in order to better plan the planning of worksites, trace flows, detect errors, signal alerts and reduce incidents. This TopTrack solution won the European Innovation Council (EIC) competition in July 2020. Altaroad is also developing solutions for monitoring road infrastructures, with a short-term deployment planned to prevent and stop overloaded trucks from crossing bridges and roads. Based on a technology developed by a joint research team from École Polytechnique, CNRS and Université Gustave Eiffel, the start-up has secured equity and grant funding of nearly €10 million.

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