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Techstars unveils sustainability-focused acceleration program in Paris

Techstars, a network of startup accelerators and an investment company, is launching a new accelerator in Paris called Techstars Sustainability Paris. This isn’t the first time that Techstars is running an accelerator in France, as the company originally launched Techstars Paris in 2017.

With this sustainability-focused accelerator, Techstars is hitting the reboot button. Going forward, the Paris team will focus exclusively on impact startups, with Raphaele Leyendecker acting as the managing director.

Every year, Techstars Sustainability Paris plans to accept 24 startups across two batches. Companies receive $120,000 and hand out 6% of their equity. They also go through an intense acceleration program that should help them scale and reach the next level.

I talked with Baptiste Fradin, who currently acts as entrepreneur in residence for this accelerator. He believes that the tech ecosystem has matured quite a lot in France over the past 10 years. But impact companies could still benefit from new processes, better network effects and more ambition in general. According to him, Techstars could bridge the gap between these two worlds.

France could become a leading market when it comes to sustainability-focused and impact startups due to local and European regulation, innovation and talent looking for opportunities in this ecosystem. That’s why Paris makes sense when it comes to building a team of mentors, investors and corporate partners for a sustainability accelerator.

But because it’s a hybrid program, companies don’t have to be based in France to apply. Techstars already has 24 portfolio companies for its sustainability program, and 16 of them aren’t based in France.

With this program, Techstars is looking for companies working on water, energy, waste management and other sustainability-related issues. It is then tech and industry agnostic, which means that these companies can be hardware or software, but also deeptech, biotech or fintech startups.

Some companies include Kumulus Water, a startup working on a water generator from air; Mavuno Technologies, a company that uses satellite imagery and machine learning to improve harvest yield; and Outlander Materials, a company working on a new material made out of organic waste to replace plastic. And if things work well for portfolio companies, Techstars can also offer to invest in funding rounds down the road.