Vestiaire Collective, a luxury resale platform co-founded by Fabre in 2008 and now valued at over € 1 billion, is one of France’s major success stories, highlighted by sale of a 5 percent stake to luxury conglomerate Kering in early March. Apart from Kering, US investment firm Tiger Global Management is also participating in Vestiaire Collective’s latest financing round of € 178 million.
LVMH is now in what it calls its “Season 5” incubator of La Maison des Startups, which nurtures about 25 startups a season, or 50 per year. A typical example is Cleed, which provides AI-customized white label chatbots. A total of 160 agreements have been signed since the opening of La Maison des Startups in 2018, including 60 between May and August 2020. And what sets Paris apart? “Its proximity to mansions,” said Roche-Grenet.
Partnerships happen at an incredible pace. Dry plans to partner with La Caserne, an upcoming incubator dedicated to sustainable fashion. Richemont is a corporate partner of the Plug and Play brand and a retail incubator in Paris.
Since early 2020, French investment bank Bpifrance (founded in 2012) has had a fund of € 100 million to invest in the tech creative industry including fashion technology, including Bpifrance’s investments in Tekyn and Arianee. This commitment to invest is part of a package of actions promised during Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 presidential campaign. “There is a global ambition of Bpifrance to inject more of the means into the creative industry, which we call the French Touch plan,” said Le Mintier. “What is at stake is the economy, competitiveness and influence of France. Paris has real legitimacy when it comes to creativity. “
Overall, Bpifrance has injected around € 1.45 billion into the cultural and creative industries, including € 492 million in fashion by 2020. Corresponding figures for the previous year were € 1.23 billion overall and € 340 million for fashion. Bpifrance has supported fashion brands such as Ami and Officine Générale as well as Vestiaire Collective and Launchmetrics.
The investment boost came at the right time. “France is lagging behind,” said Celine Lippi, an early fashion tech fan who co-founded Fashion Capital Partners in 2013. “For a long time, I received projects mainly from the US, UK, Germany, Great Asia … Events like Luxury Forward , the Paris fashion technology incubator, and the digital transformation of the fashion industry have really contributed to the emergence of the startup ecosystem. The current pandemic and drastic change in consumption behavior [helped] to create huge opportunities for emerging startups to disrupt traditional business models. “Among the Lippi funds: Luxury Tech Fund, Cuir Invest for materials, and Provoke Ventures, a new fund dedicated to beauty, wellness and innovation.