Safran invests in critical software

For the second time it has acquired a capital stake in a startup business, Safran Corporate Ventures selected Krono-Safe, a company specialized in "real-time" critical software We caught up with Grégoire Aladjidi and Hélène de Cointet at the head of Safran Corporate Ventures to find out more.

What were the reasons behind Safran Corporate Ventures investing in Krono-Safe?

Safran Corporate Ventures invests in technological startups in areas that are strategic for the Group and likely to feed into its own creativity. Krono-Safe, a software developer in the field of real-time operating systems for safety-critical equipment, fits squarely into this remit. Indeed, "real-time" onboard systems can be found in several of the Group's equipment families, especially critical systems (flight and engine control, etc.) and high-service-level systems (network management, onboard data analytics, etc.). Therefore, this investment is fully in line with Safran's "open innovation" strategy.

 

How do you go about investing in companies?

We take a minority stake (30%) in the capital of companies we select, alongside other corporate ventures or investors. We do so by fostering the implementation of trade or development agreements between startups and various Safran entities. As such, a Safran company is required to act as a sponsor for every stake that is acquired. We aim to invest €50 million over the next three years, which is equivalent to a dozen capital investments – we can invest up to a few million each time. As a first step, we are focusing on opportunities in Europe and North America, before broadening our scope to encompass the entire world.

 

What startups are likely to make their way into Safran Corporate Ventures' portfolio?

Following on from Krono-Safe, we are looking for startups that work in our core business areas – aerospace, defense and security – in which we home in on specific fields (see inset). Be that as it may, we are ready to broaden our canvassing further if we think innovations can tie in nicely with those of the Group. At the same time, we are growing our deal flow by reaching out to other stakeholders in our ecosystem, including: investors, venture capital investors and research centers. Some startups also contact us directly.

 

Priority fields include:

  • Advanced materials
  • Robotics and new manufacturing techniques
  • Connected sensors and data exploitation
  • Production, distribution, transport and storage of onboard energy systems
  • Solutions and technologies for the identity and authentication of connected devices and people.