Rennes, October 3, 2019 – French deep-tech company Cailabs wrapped up a new € 8 million fundraising campaign led by Supernova Invest with the participation of Definvest, the Ministry of the Armed Forces fund managed by Bpifrance ; Safran Corporate Ventures, lead investor in 2017; as well as Innovacom and Starquest Capital, its long-standing investors. With this funding, Cailabs has the necessary resources to rapidly develop its three main product lines at both an industrial and commercial level.
“Cailabs implements unique technologies in the field of photonics, whose military applications are numerous and very promising. It was therefore essential that the Ministry of Defense takes part in this fundraising, via the fund Definvest operated with Bpifrance,” said Florence Parly, French Ministry of Defense, who visited the company earlier today.
Since its creation in 2013, Cailabs designs, manufactures and sells innovative optical components.
The company has stood out in the world of telecom from the very beginning by developing a one-of-a-kind technology that controls the shape of light within an optical fiber in order to increase performance. Cailabs’ technology is able to carry data at speeds up to 1,000 times faster on existing fibers. Their technology has also been used to attain several world records (including that of transmission capacity through a single optical fiber with the Japanese operator KDDI).
Now the owner of a range of disruptive technologies that are the subject of 19 patent families, Cailabs offers four product lines1 serving local networks, industry 4.0 and the aerospace and telecom industries.
“Cailabs has achieved commercial success in networks, and is now facing a massive global deployment challenge, in terms of both production and sales channels. With our Crédit Agricole Innovation and Territory (CAIT) fund, accompanied by its partners from the Crédit Agricole Group, UNEXO and Crédit Agricole Ille et Vilaine expansion, we are providing the company with the means to succeed in this challenge, while continuing to expand the product range of this unique technology platform,” says Julien Cristiani, Partner at Supernova Invest and Director of the CAIT Fund.
“Our development strategy aims to strengthen and multiply our design-win by promoting a commercial action based on Cailabs’ technical excellence. With the maturation of product lines made possible by previous funding, and the increase in production volume, Cailabs is entering a new era that requires strengthening in the areas of sales, support and operations,” explains Jean-François Morizur, President of Cailabs.
Bolstered by the confidence of its investors and granted this new round of funding, Cailabs will accelerate the industrial and commercial development of its three flagship products worldwide, and boost its integration projects. By this, it intends to:
The signing of distribution agreements in 2019 provided Cailabs with an increased commercial presence and unprecedented logistics platform for its expansion projects in North America, where Cailabs made its first sales in 2018.
Cailabs will be able to meet the industrial requirements of major automobile and aircraft manufacturers seeking to boost the quality and speed of their machining processes (welding, additive manufacturing, laser cutting, etc.)
This phase of technical and commercial acceleration goes hand-in-hand with negotiations with several companies to distribute the solution worldwide.
With the recent sale of its first system to NASA, Cailabs confirms the relevance of its product to key players in the international aerospace market.
“The light-shaping technology developed by Cailabs provides an additional degree of freedom that paves the way for some very interesting possibilities and performance in terms of available throughput and power. It is potentially applicable to many Defense products incorporating laser technologies, including communications, countermeasures and LIDAR (laser remote sensing), to increase their performance. It is particularly well-suited to embedded uses due to the passive nature of this light-shaping technology,” explains Joël Barre, General Delegate for French Armament.
“We are very proud to participate in this fundraiser for Cailabs, a gem in the world of French deep tech that Bpifrance has been supporting since its inception. By supporting it in a new phase of growth, which should help to accelerate its industrial and commercial development, Bpifrance reaffirms its active role in financing and supporting deep tech companies with high potential,” says Nicolas Berdou, in charge of investment at Bpifrance for the Definvest fund.
“We are pleased to continue supporting Cailabs in the deployment of its disruptive optical solutions. Our renewed support reflects the confidence we have in the team and its unique know-how in the world, enabling it to bring innovative optical solutions to major challenges in aeronautics,” adds Florent Illat, CEO of Safran Corporate Ventures.
The law firms Joffe & Associés (Thomas Saltiel, Camille Malbezin, Johann Mendez) and Chammas & Marcheteau (Natacha Vasak, Stéphanie Bréjaud et Lola Chammas) accompanied and advised the parties during this operation.
1 Cailabs’ product lines:
Cailabs is a French deep tech company, founded in 2013, that designs, manufactures and sells innovative photonics products for telecommunications, industrial lasers, local networks and laser communications. The company has raised 16.6 million euros (2.6 million euros in November 2016, 1 million euros in July 2016 and 5 million euros in July 2017) from Innovacom, Kima Venture, Starquest Capital and Safran Corporate Ventures among others. A world leader in complex light shaping, its technology is currently covered by 19 patents. Its innovative components play a role in a variety of fields, from aeronautical wiring to factory premises networks, not forgetting additive manufacturing or its contribution to several world records (in particular, the fiber optic flow record held by Japanese operator KDDI).
About Supernova Invest
Supernova Invest is the pioneering management company and leader of deep tech investment in France, managing and advising 5 funds totaling 260 million euros. As a specialist in investment in disruptive technology start-ups, Supernova Invest focuses its expertise on industry, health, energy and the environment, and digital. The team’s 20 years of experience in investing in technology has allowed it to support more than 100 of the most innovative companies in their segments, from creation to maturity. Supernova benefits from a privileged partnership with CEA (a major player in research, development and innovation) and Amundi (European leader in asset management). www.supernovainvest.com
UNEXO is a private equity firm, a subsidiary of nine Crédit Agricole Regional Banks, which supports companies in the Greater West in their development projects. Within UNEXO, the Capital Innovation offer assists start-up managers in their commercial acceleration and Research & Development projects. Its mission is to support the actors who shape the economy of tomorrow through technological innovations (Deep Tech), use and impact (Tech For Good).
Offices: Rennes (main office), Nantes, Caen and Rouen. For more information visit: www.unexo.fr / LinkedIn: UNEXO
About Crédit Agricole Ille et Vilaine Expansion
Created in March 2017 and endowed with 5 million euros, “Crédit Agricole Ille and Vilaine Expansion” supports the innovative companies of the department by providing them equity. Complementing the Village by CA and banking solutions of the Regional Fund of Ille-et-Vilaine, the fund invests in seed and development companies across different sectors (agricultural, agro-food, housing, ENR, health, new technologies, tourism and maritime affairs) through their innovative approach.
Initially endowed with 50 million euros by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Definvest combines the complementary expertise of the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) and Bpifrance. The fund aims, as an extension of the support measures for SMEs already deployed by the DGA, to take stakes in the capital of the valuable technologies of the Defense sector, alongside financial and industrial investors, to enable them to develop autonomously in France. The sovereignty of our defense system is based on a strong and competitive industry. The French defense industry has 200,000 jobs and over 4,000 technology SMEs alongside a dozen major groups.
Bpifrance finances companies – at every stage of their development – in credit, guarantee and equity. Bpifrance accompanies them in their innovation projects and abroad. Bpifrance also ensures their export activity through a wide range of products. Advice, university, networking and acceleration program for start-ups, SMEs and IMEs are also part of the offer for entrepreneurs. Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional locations, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, unique and effective interlocutor to help them take on their challenges. More information on: www.bpifrance.fr – Follow us on Twitter: @Bpifrance – @BpifrancePress
About Safran Corporate Ventures
Safran is an international high-technology group and tier-1 supplier of systems and equipment in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Operating worldwide, Safran has nearly 92,000 employees and generated sales of 21 billion euros in 2018. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of 1.5 billion euros in 2018. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and its share is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.
Safran Corporate Ventures is the corporate venture subsidiary of Safran. It funds start-ups that have developed breakthrough or disruptive technologies. Since its creation in 2015, Safran Corporate Ventures has funded eleven innovative companies in different markets of interest for the Group. For more information: www.safran-group.com / Twitter: @Safran
About Starquest Capital
Starquest is a capital investment strategy dedicated to industrial innovation. Today, it supports more than 100 young companies, with a strong focus on energy efficiency, IT security and high value-added industrial components. Their credo has remained unchanged since 2008: placing Human before Excel, and the rigor of strategic analysis before business plans. Starquest has become one of the key players in Venture Capital in France with more than 15 operations per year.
As a pioneer in venture capital in France, Innovacom has been investing €1 billion since 1988, supporting more than 300 highly innovative digital startups, and participating in more than 150 trade sales and 20 stock market listings. It has recently contributed to numerous successes in a wide array of sectors such as electric vehicles, media advertising technology, medical imaging, digital customer relationships, trains connectivity or smartphone components. Innovacom and Turenne Group have recently partnered to create, with €1 billion under management, one of the leading independent Private Equity platform in France.