French tech startups at CES' Eureka Park were the largest group of any other country including the U.S., with 315 exhibiting companies (versus 293) at the show's innovation exhibit.. (Photo by ROBERT LEVER/AFP/Getty Images)GETTY
As CES 2019 draws to its end, the convention's organizers confirmed what my gut feeling was telling me all along since the world's largest tech tradeshow opened earlier this week: French tech startups at Eureka Park were the largest group of any other country, even surpassing the number of U.S. startups showcasing at the CES innovation exhibit.
"We have 315 French startups in Eureka Park, followed by 293 from the U.S., and 107 from South Korea," confirmed to me Justin Siraj, senior coordinator at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the organizer of CES.
Last year, France had already the most technology startups (280) of any country outside of the U.S. at Eureka Park, with more than 274 startups, representing every major industry, from the latest in self-driving vehicles, smart cities, artificial intelligence (AI), sports tech, robotics, beauty, health and fitness tech and more.
"Our presence has again increased this year," told me Nicolas Amar, the executive director of the French Tech. "There are a total of 414 French technology companies (vs 365 in 2018 and 275 in 2017) at CES 2019."
But unlike previous years since the launch of the 'French Tech' initiative five years ago by Fleur Pellerin, who was then the minister in charge of France's digital economy, no minister showed up at CES to support the country's technology ecosystem except for Amar and a handful of regional representatives: A consequence of the 'yellow vests' rebellion in France over the decline of purchasing power of the working-class and the introduction of a new tax on diesel fuel and the fact that most of the French tech startups at CES are coming partly on taxpayers' dime, which could possibly incite more unrests at home.
Despite the huge number of companies (you can find the official list of French tech startups at Eureka Park here) that I've looked at, here are the 10 startups that excited me the most so far:
- XXII (22) developed an AI-powered vision recognition platform that can recognize people and objects using any standard video surveillance cameras that can be used for security, inspection and more.
- Archos is probably one of the largest startups of the bunch with more than $60 million in annual revenue and unveiled 2 new affordable smart displays (Mate 5 and 7), with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as the Safe-T hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies.
- BassMe unveiled a wearable subwoofer that fits on your chest and uses propulsion and vibrations triggered by sound waves to augment that sound and completely immerse yourself into the music, video or game.
- Holoforge showcased its collaborative mixed reality platform based on Microsoft's HoloLens to create holographic interactive scenarios, video remote assistance or 3D space scanning for the education market, maintenance, marketing or assistance. Current clients include Airbus, Bristol-Myers, Microsoft, Pichet Immobilier and Vinci Autoroute.
- Le Pavé Parisien introduced the world's first Bluetooth high-end speaker made of concrete. It's heavy, solid and most of all very loud.
- Marianka presented "La Matière Bavarde" or Talkative Matter, an interactive substance which is used as a smart coating that can be placed on all kinds of different materials (walls, wood, cloth...) that can turn on/off any electronic devices by simply touching it.
- Mywah unveiled the Edgar Wine Butler, a connected wine dispenser by the glass for events, restaurants or food courts, which uses RFID-tagged bags and WiFi to track wine stock, portioning and remote monitoring and can serve three different kinds of wines at their right temperature, immediately and continuously.
- PUP Scan is a connected and mobile pocket scanner that allows you to scan documents in one click, convert them to digital form and send instantly over WiFi.
- Simob showcased MoonStart, a network of compact docks to recharge and manage a fleet of shared self-balancing mini Segway scooters addressing the needs for short-distance mobility, both indoor and outdoor mobility, for employees, tourists or students.
- Urban Canopee developed an autonomous and connected plant canopy system of climbing plants that are grown using flexible lightweight metal frames with sensors that control the plant's hydration levels and temperature of the plants.