France Newsletter

Lydia now supports Samsung Pay

Posted by | Apps, Europe, France Newsletter, Lydia, Mobile, Samsung Pay, Startups | No Comments

While French banks are just catching up to Apple Pay, French startup Lydia is adding support for Samsung Pay. If you have a recent Samsung phone, you can now add a virtual card to Samsung Pay and pay using your phone in your favorite stores.

Lydia started as a peer-to-peer payment app. It works more or less like Venmo or Square Cash in the U.S. After signing up, you can add a debit card to your account and send and receive money for free. You can withdraw your balance to a traditional bank account whenever you want.

The company has been adding more features to turn Lydia into the only banking app you need. You can now connect Lydia to your bank accounts, view your balances, get an IBAN, initiate transfers, create Lydia sub-accounts with multiple people and get a physical MasterCard.

Some features are now part of a premium subscription for €2.99 per month ($3.47) or €3.99 per month with the physical card ($4.62). The company also expanded to the U.K., Ireland, Spain and Portugal. There are a million registered users on Lydia.

More interestingly, Lydia wants to go beyond peer-to-peer payments. You can use Lydia to pay in some grocery stores, such as Franprix stores. You can also pay online by receiving a push notification and confirming the transaction in the Lydia app — Cdiscount supports Lydia for instance.

And when you can’t pay with your Lydia account directly, the startup doesn’t want to play favorites. You can generate a virtual card and enter the card number on an e-commerce website. You can add this virtual card to Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Let’s see if Google Pay is next.

This could be particularly interesting for users who can’t use those payment systems because their banks don’t support those features. Let’s be honest, you rarely change your bank. With Lydia, you can still use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay with your existing bank account.

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Back Market raises $48 million for its refurbished device marketplace

Posted by | Back Market, Europe, France Newsletter, Fundings & Exits, Gadgets, Startups | No Comments

If you’ve tried selling your old smartphone on a refurbishment website, chances are you ended up with a dozen browser tabs comparing prices. French startup Back Market is taking advantage of this fragmented industry to create a marketplace and aggregate all refurbishers on a single online platform.

The startup just raised $48 million (€41 million). Groupe Arnault, Eurazeo, Aglaé Ventures and Daphni participated in today’s funding round.

Back in May, the company told me that it was working with over 270 factories. Back Market has generated over $110 million in gross merchandise volume over the past three years. The service is now live in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Italy. The company just expanded to the U.S.

“Before, refurbishment was just a thing for tech savvy people and tech bloggers,” co-founder and chief creative officer Vianney Vaute told me. “With Back Market, it becomes a mainstream alternative.”

Working with multiple factories is also a competitive advantage when it comes to pricing, fail rate and quality assurance. Back Market has an overview on the industry and can choose to work with some partners and leave underperforming ones behind. The startup needs to build a brand that consumers can trust.

While smartphones and laptops are the most prominent products on the homepage, Back Market also accepts game consoles, TVs, headphones, coffee machines and more. Back Market also sells Apple products refurbished by Apple itself.

Now that smartphones have become a mature market, many customers aren’t looking for new and shiny devices. Some customers can be perfectly happy with a phone that was released last year or two years ago. It represents an opportunity for Back Market and the refurbishment industry as a whole.

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Tempow raises $4 million to improve Bluetooth

Posted by | France Newsletter, Gadgets, Startups, Tempow | No Comments

French startup Tempow has raised a $4 million funding round. Balderton Capital led the round, with C4 Ventures also participating. The company has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol to make it more versatile.

Smartphones, speakers and connected devices all use Bluetooth in one way or another. There are only a handful of Bluetooth chipset manufacturers in the world, such as Qualcomm and Broadcom. While Bluetooth chips have become incredibly efficient as they use much less power than they used to, it’s been stagnant on the software front.

Tempow is a software company that wants to rewrite the Bluetooth stack from scratch. The company started with an audio profile.

Thanks to Tempow’s technology, you can connect a phone to multiple Bluetooth speakers at once. This is just a software improvement — it works with standard Bluetooth chipsets and all Bluetooth audio devices out there.

Lenovo liked this idea and licensed the technology for its Moto X4 handset. More than 5 million devices with Tempow’s Bluetooth stack have been sold.

With today’s funding round, the startup wants to tackle more use cases. For instance, Tempow wants to optimize the pairing process, enhance the security of the protocol and work on battery consumption. “Maybe you could pay using Bluetooth instead of NFC,” co-founder and CEO Vincent Nallatamby told me.

At the same time, the startup is negotiating with multiple manufacturers. You can expect to see Tempow’s technology in more devices in the future.

The company currently has 7 patents pending and just got its first patent last week. Eventually, Tempow thinks it can build a team of Bluetooth experts who push the protocol forward.

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Canal+ gives up on its cable box, switches to Apple TV

Posted by | Apps, canal+, Entertainment, France Newsletter, Gadgets | No Comments

French premium cable television company Canal+ is slowly moving away from building its own set top boxes. As Next INpact spotted, you can now subscribe to Canal+ and get an Apple TV 4K with Canal+’s myCanal app already preloaded.

Canal+ has been around for decades and was the first premium TV channel in France. Over the years, the company started distributing all sorts of premium channels through satellite, cable and partnerships with internet service providers.

While you had to get your own Canal+ set top box to receive Canal+ 15 years ago, the company’s own box has slowly become irrelevant. As all the main French internet service providers give you a set top box, Canal+ has partnered with them to offer multiple add-ons to receive Canal+’s content.

When Canal+ announced its most recent device, Canal+ already said that you’d get a better experience with the myCanal app on the Apple TV.

That’s why Canal+ is betting everything on over-the-top distribution. If you don’t subscribe to Canal+ through your ISP, you can get an Apple TV 4K for €6 per month in addition to your TV package. If your internet connection isn’t fast enough or you’d rather use satellite TV, you can still get a Canal+ set top box.

But the writing is on the wall. Most people will soon watch Canal+ through myCanal on Android TV, tvOS, iOS, Android, a Samsung TV and desktop computers.

In France, Molotov and myCanal have been some of the top performing apps for tvOS and Android TV. This partnership could boost the Apple TV in France.

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Devialet is getting a new CEO

Posted by | Devialet, Europe, France Newsletter, Gadgets, Speaker, Startups, TC | No Comments

 Employees of French startup Devialet just learned this morning that they would get a new CEO. Co-founder and (former) CEO Quentin Sannié is going to focus on the long-term vision, while Franck Lebouchard is joining the company to become CEO.
While the board of the company elected Lebouchard as CEO on Friday, this change has been in the works for months. Lebouchard has worked at McKinsey… Read More

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Shadow launches its cloud computer for gamers in the UK

Posted by | BLADE, cloud gaming, Europe, France Newsletter, Gadgets, Gaming, shadow, Startups, TC | No Comments

 French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow, is launching its cloud gaming service in the U.K. Just like in the U.S., the company is starting with a pre-sale before accepting all customers. For a flat monthly fee, you can rent a gaming PC in a data center near you. You can then access this beefy computer using desktop and mobile apps as well as the company’s own little box. Read More

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Shadow launches its cloud computer for gamers in California

Posted by | BLADE, cloud gaming, Europe, France Newsletter, Gaming, shadow, Startups, TC | No Comments

 French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow, is about to expand its cloud gaming service to the U.S. Customers who live in California can pre-order starting today, and they’ll be able to access the service on February 15th. The rest of the U.S. will be able to subscribe later this summer. Shadow is currently live in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. For a flat monthly… Read More

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Devialet built a car audio system for Renault’s Symbioz concept car

Posted by | Devialet, Europe, France Newsletter, Gadgets, Renault, Renault Symbioz, Startups, Symbioz, TC | No Comments

 High-end speaker maker Devialet is branching out of home speakers. The company announced a partnership with Renault for its first ever car audio system. You can’t buy a Renault car with Devialet speakers just yet, but there’s a Renault concept car with those speakers. Devialet has always said that it wasn’t just a speaker manufacturer. The French startup has worked on its… Read More

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Snips lets you build your own voice assistant to embed into your devices

Posted by | artificial intelligence, Europe, France Newsletter, Gadgets, Snips, Startups, TC, voice assistant | No Comments

 French startup Snips is now helping you build a custom voice assistant for your device. Snips doesn’t use Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service or Google Assistant SDK — the company is building its own voice assistant so that you can embed it on your devices. And the best part is that it doesn’t send anything to the cloud as it works offline. If you want to understand how a… Read More

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Shadow upgrades its cloud computer for gamers and opens signups to everyone

Posted by | BLADE, cloud gaming, Europe, France Newsletter, Gadgets, Gaming, shadow, Startups, TC | No Comments

 French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow, announced at a press conference that it is launching new offers, updating specifications and the ability to become a client and buy a subscription without any waiting list. Shadow is a gaming PC in the cloud for a monthly fee. The company has been running thousands of computers with an Intel Xeon processor and an Nvidia GTX 1070 in a data… Read More

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