Innovation from French Start-ups at IFA

Business France launches French Tech pavilion

Some 15 start-ups from France are exhibiting at the French Tech pavilion, organised at IFA for the first time by Business France.

Selected from among 40 competing firms, the IoT start-ups are located in hall 26a, the new area branded IFA Next, devoted to innovation. “We gave priority to innovative companies that display genuine international development potential and which have the capacity to ramp up their commercial development so as to spark the interest of decision-makers visiting IFA,” said Foued Kéfif, who is running the pavilion for Business France. Here, we highlight nine of the exhibiting start-ups….


Uzer was founded in 2014 by two university friends, Clément, from L’IESEG School of Management in Lille, and Paul, of the Catholic University of Lille. Together they have developed Eugène, a smart device connected to a mobile app that can turn the average kitchen waste bin into a “set of tools allowing for a responsible consumption while making your life easier”. Simply, Eugène enables consumers to scan the barcode of a product before they throw it into the waste bin. Eugène will then display the correct sorting instructions so that the consumer can never make a mistake when determining how waste products should be recycled.


Bluemint Labs is the company behind Bixi, a gesture-control remote device that recognises in-air hand movements and controls any connected device touch-free. For example, while driving, with Bixi on your dashboard, users can keep their focus on the road while waving their hand in the air to phone someone, change the music, or control navigation apps. Bixi reads hand gestures and then sends a command to the configured app or device via Bluetooth; the action is confirmed on Bixi by an LED visual feedback.

And at home, when cooking, showering, or doing DYI, with simple gestures Bixi will control lights or Bluetooth speakers touch-free, or even scroll through a recipe. It can connect with and control over 350 apps, for example Spotify, Netflix, Drivemode and Powerpoint.


Phonotonic was founded in 2011 by Nicolas Rasamimanana, an engineer and accomplished musician. He worked for 10 years focusing on new ways of making and interacting with music. Phonotonic’s ambition is to offer and create music to fit with who you are and what you do: it’s what the company describes as “the hyper personalisation of music”. Phonotonic engages gesture technology and is targeted at consumers, enabling them to create music with the minimum of musical skill or knowledge. At IFA the company is launching Phono. Live, an extension of the technology targeted at professionals. Since the launch of the product in 2015, Phonotonic is now available in Europe, the US and Japan.


Cats in the wild eat 10-to-15 times each day and drink fresh water; cats in the home eat one to two times a day and drink stagnant water. As a result some 40% of domestic cats are obese, with heart, joint and kidney problems. Catspad, the smart automatic feeder and water fountain, has been designed to correct this situation.

Catspad allows cats to eat and drink when they like, without inconveniencing the pet’s owner.

Funded with Kickstarter, the first functional prototype was completed in July 2016 and although it doesn’t officially hit the stories until Q1 2018, some 600 feeders have already been sold. By Q1 2019 it will be available in 40 countries.


Velco describes itself as “the future operator for urban mobility”, its aim being to solve problems faced by cyclists in the modern age. A step towards this goal is the Wink Bar, which Velco claims is the first connected handlebar that can be controlled through smartphones via a mobile app. The Wink Bar can guide users to their destination, burglarproof their bike and integrate smart lights – a key safety measure. Velco is selling the Wink Bar to specialist bike distributors and manufacturers as well as consumer technology distributors. Other clients include tour operators, bike rentals, self-service bicycle operators and delivery companies.


Story-telling technology Lunii is described by its creators as “playful, tangible, intuitive, interactive and connected”. It offers children a choice of hundreds of fantastic adventures, but it’s up to them to choose which ones they listen to. Mixing innovation and tradition, children choose the hero, place and second character and Lunii then tells them the story. The aim is to develop the children’s imagination.

Lunii targets libraries, schools, bookstores and editors as its key customers around the world.


Bonjour is a smart alarm clock from Holi, a design and innovation company based in Lyon.

Through precise voice-activation technology, wireless internet connectivity, app integration, AI intuition, and an easy-to-read display, Bonjour is designed to “enhance your morning wake-up routine to go beyond the snooze button”.

With Bonjour, the user can wake up to a local weather report, a favourite Spotify playlist, or a personalised lighting configuration, all with voice-control activation and feedback. The user sets the conditions for the following day and Bonjour interprets the information. With natural-conversational AI technology, Bonjour speaks back to the user and together they plan for the day ahead.

Bonjour is able to distinguish between multiple voices in a room, and can deliver advice to individual users.


Marbotic, a pioneer in integrated learning for pre-school kids, has launched Smart Letters, a new letter-based toy used in conjunction with a tablet. The toy is designed to help change the way children learn to read and write and integrates modern technology with traditional methods of child’s play.

Smart Letters is a wooden alphabet of letters, connected to downloadable apps designed for three to seven year old kids. As children learn to read, they begin to make connections between the shapes and sounds of letters. Each wooden letter interacts with the apps on a tablet, helping to build a picture of the alphabet and early word formation in a child’s mind. The bringing together of both the physical and digital aspect of learning produces an enhanced learning experience.


More than 80% of burglaries take place during the day when no one is at home, and current indoor cameras tend only to show a burglary in progress.

The Hi) connected video intercom is designed to prevent this type of situation. A product from Fenotek, a Marseille-based startup, the smart video intercom connects to the internet through Wi-Fi or 4G.

The user can welcome a visitor to the door – while inside the home or remotely – using a smartphone. A high-resolution camera enables the user to see and talk to the visitor and even to remotely open the door. An integrated alarm can be triggered if the user suspects anything suspicious.

HALL 26A / STANDS 157A TO 157P