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Safran steps up its investment in the startup ecosystem


Some 200 guests attended an event devoted to the startup ecosystem, at the Safran chalet, this June 20th. The meeting was organized by Safran Corporate Ventures, the Group’s investment arm focused on financing startups. It provided an opportunity to remind participants how and why Safran helps young companies thrive, while underlining the Group’s determination to speed up investment in this ecosystem.

Olivier Andriès à l'événement de Safran Corporate Ventures

Safran turned its focus to the startup ecosystem on the second day of the Paris Air Show, Tuesday June 20th. Some 200 entrepreneurs, investors and representatives from public agencies and leading manufacturers were invited by Safran Corporate Ventures“an essential building block in Safran’s strategy,” in Olivier Andriès’ words – to an event that shined a light on the key role of cooperation with up-and-coming businesses.

Helping future industrial and technology leaders grow stronger

“Decarbonization, sovereignty, New Space are all vital challenges. And, to rise to them, to operationalize our roadmap, we need disruptive technologies,” pointed out Safran’s Chief Executive Officer, Olivier Andriès, in opening. “And today Safran wants to speed up its investment and the development of the ecosystem of young companies.”

Via Safran Corporate Ventures and Safran Explore, its proactive open innovation initiative, Safran aims to fast-track cooperation with startups that have groundbreaking technologies or business models that can be applied in industry.

Safran is here as a trusted, long-term partner. It is part of our responsibility as a French industrial group and we have never been as active on this front as we are today,” Olivier Andriès added.

The examples that Safran’s CEO gave included the Group’s recent investments in the startups Cranfield, Ineratec, Sintermat – short-listed for first French Tech 2030 program – and, even more recently, Vyoma, a German startup that specializes in space debris detection from outer space.

“A good relationship with startups is essential; we see them as partners as soon as we start sitting down with them,” added Yannick Bonnaire, Group Senior VP Innovation and Head of Safran Corporate Ventures.  

Investing together

Several external deep tech experts were at the event because, at Safran, “we have no doubt that the complementarity between partners is what will bring about tomorrow’s technology leaders,” Olivier Andriès continued.

Among a large number of entrepreneurs, academic leaders and representatives from public agencies, Paul-François Fournier, Director of Innovation at the French Banque Publique d’Investissement (BPI) was asked to speak about the challenges and opportunities linked to cooperation between blue-chip companies and startups:  “As we see it, the fact that a player such as Safran is involved is essential: the young companies we provide financial support for will have to move into the private sector one day. The fact that you are involved is reassurance that we are on the right track.”

Florent Illat, Head of Safran Corporate Ventures, wrapped up the meeting saying, “Safran’s open innovation policy has been gaining ground non-stop for the past four years. The Group is opening up more and more to the outside, teaming up with startups around the world, that will help it tackle several challenges, especially relating to decarbonization and sovereignty. Now, more than ever, we are all – startups, large industrial groups, academic leaders and public authorities – traveling the same path.

Safran invests in Vyoma, a startup specializing in space debris monitoring