Published on 16 January 2017
Entrepreneuriat étudiant

An initial closing of €50 million for Paris-Saclay Seed Fund, an investment fund for startups led by students, alumni and faculty from Université Paris-Saclay and its members.

The higher education institutions of Université Paris-Saclay, a world-class hub for teaching, research and innovation, have constituted an investment fund to encourage the creation of technology and service startups. The fund has just completed its first closing of €50 million, with a major contribution from Bpifrance via the Fonds National d'Amorçage (FNA), which is managed under the Investments of the Future program. This fund is an essential new component of the comprehensive system to support entrepreneurial projects at UPSaclay.

The fund brings together ten large corporate partners, who will support UPSaclay's entrepreneurial ecosystem through an Open Innovation program. It is also supported by entrepreneurs and alumni, who played a part in its creation and will be involved in certain projects.

In 2015, 17 institutions linked to UPSaclay came together on the initiative of Polytechnique and HEC to work on establishing a Paris-Saclay Seed Fund:

Grandes Ecoles :

  • Polytechnique
  • HEC
  • CentraleSupelec
  • Institut Mines Telecom
  • ENS Cachan
  • Agro ParisTech
  • ENSAE ParisTech
  • ENSTA ParisTech
  • Institut d’Optique

Research Centers:

  • CEA
  • CNRS
  • IHES
  • INRA

and Universities:

  • Université Paris-Sud
  • Université de Versailles St-Quentin.

Together, these institutions represent:

  • 10 000 researchers and faculty,
  • 65 000 students, including 10,000 in entrepreneurial fields,
  • 360 laboratories
  • 10 incubators & accelerators.

The fund's network of key partners consists of BNP Paribas, CHANEL, Cisco, Econocom, EDF, Groupama, JCDecaux Holding, Orange, RATP and Société Générale. These major accounts will participate actively in the life of the fund, by taking part in the events organized on Université Paris-Saclay campuses and in an Open Innovation program to support the startups.

Several dozen alumni, entrepreneurs and executives from major industrial or service companies have joined the fund project, and will be available to support startups. This means that students, young graduates and researchers will have customized access to equity funding for their business projects and special access to a network of business partners and mentors. To be eligible, startups must have been founded by or be run by UPSaclay alumni who graduated within the last six years, have a contract with one of the University's research centers, or have been accelerated or incubated by one of the University's entities.

Forty to fifty young companies selected over the next three years will receive support from the Paris-Saclay Seed Fund. Startups will be granted up to three million euros in equity over several rounds of investment. Partech Ventures, one of the world's largest investors in IT and digital technology, will manage the fund, with support from Kurma Partners for investments in life sciences. In close collaboration with Université Paris-Saclay and its members, the fund will support the most innovative technology and service startups.

The fund, which has just completed a first "closing" of €50 million, is financed by institutional investors—led by Bpifrance through the Fonds National d'Amorçage (FNA), which is managed under the Investments of the Future Program—along with large companies that already have a strong presence in the Paris-Saclay ecosystem. The teaching and research institutions of Université Paris-Saclay will also contribute to its funding, either directly or through their foundations.
The fund is to make its first investments in the coming weeks.