Paris-Saclay University this week achieved the first close of its €50m ($53m) seed fund thanks to contributions from investors including France’s public investment bank Bpifrance.

Other backers include luxury consumer goods company Chanel, networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, business-to-business digital services provider Econocom, utility EDF, insurance group Groupama, outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, telecoms firm Orange and public transport operator RATP.

Financial services firms BNP Paribas and Société Générale as well as several dozen angel investors – made up alumni from participating universities, entrepreneurs and heads of corporations listed in France – also committed capital.

The 17 Grandes Écoles, universities and research centres that make up the Paris-Saclay University ecosystem also supplied cash, either directly or through their respective foundations.

Paris-Saclay University was established by the French government as a federal research institution with the aim of generating a research-intensive technology cluster in Paris that would rank in the global top 10. Its first academic year began in September 2015.

The fund will invest between €100,000 to €2m in seed and series A-stage spinouts and startups emerging out of the Paris-Saclay ecosystem.

A total of 70% of the fund’s capital is managed by Partech Ventures to invest in IT, internet and digital companies. The remaining 30% is overseen by Kurma Partners and will go towards life sciences and medical technology businesses.

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).