March 18, 2024

Companies in the foodtech and agritech sectors cover the entire food chain from agricultural production to the end consumer. France has been active in supporting the foodtech sectors and it claims to have more than 200 registered startups in this field, of which 71 are deeptech.

France ranks number three globally for foodtech and agritech startups which is not surprising as it is the country with the biggest agricultural output in the European Union – by far, followed by Italy, Spain, and Germany with a similar share each. (source: EU agriculture factsheet).

Tech companies are vital in the face of global food production challenges. It is estimated by the United Nations that by 2050, the global population will reach 9.8 billion and they will all need feeding while also being sustainable and protecting natural resources.

Foodtech and agritech startups will be the front line in this challenge and the French government has backed them with €2.3 billion in funding to 2030. Below, we profile four startups that are finding new ways to tackle some old problems.

UV Boosting

This company is the result of a collaboration between the University of Avignon and the venture builder Technofounders, based in France. After discovering that UV-C flashes increase plant resistance to various pathogens, university researchers Laurent Urban and Jawad Aarrouf filed their first patent in 2015.

In 2016, they joined forces with Yves Matton, co-founder of Technofounders, to create UV Boosting. The company is focused on UV stimulation to protect crops using environmentally-friendly solutions – essentially biocontrols that rely on natural mechanisms and therefore reduce the use of pesticide products.

The biocontrol market is estimated to be worth €3.8 billion, with annual growth of 16% expected over the next decade. The startup designs equipment to stimulate the natural defense of plants using UV flashes, making it possible to reduce the need for fungicides.

In the case of the wine industry in France, Matton said: “UV Boosting’s technology is designed to adapt to each winegrower’s protection strategy in order to reduce the use of inputs while improving crop protection.”

Naïo Technologies

Robotics are not new in agritech but the field is still evolving and can lessen the load on farmers while reducing environmental impacts by, for example, replacing chemicals with mechanics.

Research companies vary on their forecasts but Fortune Business Insights says the agricultural equipment market is projected to grow from $181 billion in 2023 to $297 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 7.3%.

Naïo Technologies, based near Toulouse, France is looking to take a small slice of that cake by designing vegetable-weeding robots, vineyard straddle robots to reduce the use of pesticides, and small agricultural-assistant robots to cut down on time-consuming and difficult tasks.

France Naïo Technologies
Naïo Technologies is partnering with CAMSO on a project to protect soils.

Most recently, the company tied up with CAMSO, a specialist in rubber tracks and track systems to form an R&D partnership to meet the challenges of soil protection. Co-founder of Naïo, Gaëtan Séverac, said: “The R&D contract initiated for more than a year, has brought great results during the first stages of this partnership. We are now running a second, multi-year phase, including factory technical testing and in field trials with producers.”


Artificial intelligence (AI) consulting firm Dilepix claims it can automate tasks aided by AI and computer vision for what it calls “long-term digital transformation”. The startup from Rennes, France, can also improve robotic control of agricultural machinery.

Decision support tools are valuable to farmers in supporting the monitoring of livestock and crops. They offer data-based agronomic recommendations with the data collected using tools such as drones and the use of AI.

Dilepix offers a decision support and farm management tool combining a cloud platform of agronomic images with artificial intelligence in order to improve productivity and increase autonomy. The company is known in France for its measurement of cattle and pig activity, ovulation detection, monitoring of aggressive behaviour, and automatic insect counting, among others.


Finally, Inalve is looking at microalgae as a source of nutrition that can feed animals, in particular, both naturally and sustainably that will cut out the global reliance on traditional animal feed.

The company from France claims it can cultivate microalgae using a resource-saving, industrial process with the help of sun and water while only adding a few minerals. The algae are enriched differently depending on the target industry.

There could be value for humans too. Diversifying protein intake could potentially reduce the carbon footprint of livestock farming which is a major issue. Microalgae are one of several alternatives in this field; others include plants, fermented products, cellular agriculture, and insects. Some global forecasts put the consumption of protein alternatives to meat as high as 30% by 2030.

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