The funding crisis in the French startup ecosystem is affecting even its emblematic figures. This is demonstrated by Marc Simoncini, founder of Meetic, who announced, on Tuesday, September 19, a fundraising of 20 million euros to support his latest company, Angell Mobility, manufacturer of electric and connected bicycles.
Initially, the young company hoped to raise 25 million euros. “It took us more than a year” to carry out this round of discussions, the businessman testifies. “For every 100 applications submitted to funds specialized in the digital economy, in principle they are rejected at least 90 times”he says.
By launching a company with a strong industrial dimension, which aims to rely on French partners as much as possible – starting with the SEB group, which assembles its bicycles in Is-sur-Tille (Gold Coast) – Simoncini did not make it easy. Although the company is positioned in a segment of high-end bicycles, whose prices range between 2,500 and 3,000 euros, he knows that its profitability prospects have nothing to do with those of a digital company.
Prior to this financing round, Angell Mobility had already raised more than €20 million, mainly contributed by Jaïna Capital, Simoncini’s venture capital fund, and SEB. This time two new investors enter the capital, including Bpifrance, which makes its first investment through its industrial seed fund, launched in March and endowed with 50 million euros.
Expand the range of products
“We lacked the tools to support less disruptive innovations, dedicated to more traditional industries. »testifies Paul-François Fournier, executive director of the institution. “Without Bpifrance nothing would have been possible”, says Simoncini. The other new entrant is Marseille-based global logistics giant CMA CGM, which is reportedly working on decarbonizing transport.
This level of funds allows Angel Mobility to expand its range of products (peut-être au-delà des vélos), and to be developed internationally, while the rest of its essence is present in France, Germany and in Italy. The company, which delivered its first products in 2020, had around 5,000 bicycles in circulation in 2022.
This figure could grow rapidly with the announcement, also on Tuesday, September 19, of a partnership with the Mini brand (BMW group) to co-produce electric bicycles on behalf of the automobile brand. About 4,000 copies of a limited edition will go on sale, especially at Mini dealers, but the collaboration must last at least five years and allow new models to be designed.
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