Grand Prix ACF AutoTech is now the leading competition in the automotive industry. Since 2018, the Automobile Club de France and ESSEC Automobile Club have been promoting, rewarding and supporting the most innovative French and international startups in automotive use, commercialisation, manufacturing and design.

Featuring a high-profile panel of judges made up of leading entrepreneurs and top figures from the automotive industry, this large-scale event acts as a springboard and accelerator for new technology and transport.

 

Three awards to win

GRAND PRIX ACF AUTOTECH

For startups in the most advanced stages of their development

PRIX PIONNIER ACF

For the youngest startups, in the early stages of their development (seed stage)

MENTION GPACF GREENTECH

For the finalist startup with the most eco-friendly product

Key dates 

5 OCTOBER 2020 – Applications are open

Organisations eligible to enter the Grand Prix ACF AutoTech: Automotive service and technology development companies that have registered their business activity on or after 1 January 2011 in any country worldwide, with at least 50% of the share capital owned by one or more private individual(s).

Applicants compete to win one of the three awards and prizes (worth a combined total of more than €200,000).

27 NOVEMBER 2020 – Application deadline

9 FEBRUARY 2021 – 6 finalists announced

Competition organisers announce the six startups selected for the final round of Grand Prix ACF AutoTech 2021. These finalists will receive guidance from the consulting firm Humeaning in preparing their speech, developing business relationships and promoting their image at the awards ceremony.

15 APRIL 2021 – Finalists announced and awards ceremony 

The final round and awards ceremony will be held at the Automobile Club de France on Place de la Concorde in Paris. In attendance will be jury members, finalists and 300 guests from the automotive, high-tech and digital industries, business and media leaders, as well as partners joined this year by Michelin and La Tribune.

Apply now

Jury  – Grand Prix ACF AutoTech 2021

President of the Jury

Louis Desanges, President of Automobile Club de France

Jury members

Thierry Peugeot, President of ESSEC Automobile Club

Anne Asensio, Vice-President Design of Dassault Systèmes

Patrick Blain, Former Executive Committee member, Renault-Nissan

Yann Bodéré, Managing Director of IoT.Bzh, Grand Prix ACF 2020

Eric Bourdais de Charbonnière President of the Automobile Club de France Endowment Fund

Félicie Burelle, Managing Director, Plastic Omnium

Béatrice Duboisset,President of Humeaning and Founder of Paris TedX Women Champs Elysées

Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia

Gilles Le Borgne, Executive Vice President Engineering, Renault Group

Elisabeth Lecuyer, President of Paris Business Angels

Frédéric Mazzella, President-Founder of BlaBlaCar

Christian Peugeot, Vice-President of Automobile Club de France

Alexis Poinsard, Corporate M&A Partner, Fidal

Romain Stutzmann, President of France AutoTech

Press

Agence VLC   

Valérie Leseigneur – Tel: + 33 (0)6 68 80 37 35 – valerie@agencevlc.com

Joy Lion – Tel: + 33 (0)7 62 59 65 86 – joy@agencevlc.com

GPACF AutoTech  

Richard de Cabrol – Tel: + 33 (0)6 51 38 16 38 – richard.decabroldemoute@essec.edu

ZIZ Energie, a Chad-based electrification company, raises funding led by Aster’s early-stage African fund, Energy Access Ventures (EAV), which invests in and supports decentralized energy companies across sub-Saharan Africa.

ZIZ has been leading the energy access revolution in the 5th largest country in Africa, with a 10% electrification rate, and is now expanding in Chad and beyond. EAV is proud to be backing an African team with an outstanding track record of executing in one of the world’s most fragile environments.

Founded in 2006 by Ibrahim Zakaria, a Chadian engineer, ZIZ rapidly emerged into one of the national leaders in electrical equipment distribution, EPC services, and energy services for secondary cities and commercial and industrial (C&I) clients.

Having successfully operated diesel-powered sites in several Chadian towns for the past decade, ZIZ is now developing MW scale ‘metro-grids’ by hybridizing these sites through solar and storage to extend their distribution network and increase population coverage and operating hours.

In addition, ZIZ is expanding its electrification efforts across new cities in Chad, North Cameroon and other Central African countries. The company is leveraging their 13 years of experience and profitability to lead the C&I, grid extension and rural electrification efforts in the region.

We are excited to welcome EAV to Chad. EAV’s investment allows us to execute on our vision of decentralized green energy for Central Africa and our mission to be the main vector in Chad.

Founder and CEO of ZIZ Energie

We believe that companies like ZIZ are best positioned to champion universal clean energy access efforts in frontier markets. Our investment in ZIZ marks an important step in the acceleration of the energy access revolution across Central Africa’s frontier markets. We are proud to back Ibrahim Zakaria, a Chadian entrepreneur who wields deep knowledge, operational skills and networks. ZIZ team navigates dynamic business contexts and nascent regulatory landscapes to become the clear leader in the region.

Principal at EAV

Schneider has worked closely over the years with ZIZ, the certified national distributor for Schneider in Chad. The company’s energy as a service model perfectly embodies Schneider’s long-term energy access vision in frontier markets. We are excited to expand our partnership with ZIZ across its various business lines including distribution, C&I, EPC services and in particular, the metrogrid hybridizing project.

Sustainable Development Senior Vice President at Schneider Electric

About ZIZ

ZIZ was established in 2006 by Chadian engineer, Ibrahim Zakaria, starting off as an electrical EPC company. The company quickly diversified into rural and urban electrification, electrical equipment distribution, EPC and energy services for C&I. The company has 60 employees and has been operating profitably. ZIZ also has a presence in North Cameroon where it provides electrification services.

ZIZ was advised by FieldFisher for English law documents, LPA-CGR Avocats, Kreich Avocats SCP and Venture Law Ltd for French, Chadian and Mauritian law, respectively. For more information, please visit www.ziz-energie.com

 

About Energy Access Ventures

Energy Access Ventures is an investment firm in Africa. With over 40 years of investment experience in Africa, EAV is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the emerging smart, distributed, cost-effective infrastructure market segment. EAV has carved out a reputation as a hands-on investor that works closely with its portfolio companies to capture the significant opportunity in Africa. EAV’s first fund (“EAV I”) was raised in February 2015 and is €75,000,000 in size with 9 investment professionals. The fund is sponsored by the leading French multinational Schneider Electric and is managed by Aster Capital in Paris. Its investors are CDC Group (UK), managing funds for the UK Department for International Development, the European Investment Bank, the Fonds d’Investissement et de Soutien aux Entreprises en Afrique (FISEA) held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and managed by Proparco, the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM), administered by AFD, Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Netherlands Development Finance Company the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and Schneider Electric. For more information, please visit https://eavafrica.com/

 

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is a European multinational company providing energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. It addresses homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries, by combining energy technologies, real-time automation, software and services.

For more information, please visit https://www.se.com

SolarX, a Mali-based solar company, raises Series A funding led by Aster’s early-stage African fund, Energy Access Ventures (EAV),  which invests in and supports decentralized energy companies across sub-Saharan Africa.

SolarX focuses on West Africa, a region where electricity access remains expensive and unreliable for many commercial and industrial (C&I) businesses. This presents a significant opportunity for solar energy given the region’s vast solar radiation coverage. SolarX unlocks this opportunity by offering a one-stop shop solution for clean energy services – providing reliable and affordable energy which allows end-users to operate more efficiently in challenging environments. With this financing, SolarX will focus on developing and operating projects in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

As energy generation in our target market comes from costly, difficult-to-get and volatile fossil fuels, most C&I clients are looking for cheaper, more reliable and cleaner energy. Despite the market demand, attracting financial partners had been a challenge before engaging with EAV. The EAV team has been instrumental in supporting us to set up the company, define the right business model, put together operational structures and develop connections with relevant partners prior to their investment. We are eager to lead the way in growing the renewable energy sector in West Africa.

Founder & CEO of SolarX

We are proud to continue to foster the development of C&I solar, investing in experienced local teams and innovative business models across underserved, frontier markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. With decades of combined operating experience in Mali, the SolarX team has the right expertise and execution capabilities to create a leading regional franchise with an appropriate and comprehensive C&I offering.

Principal at EAV

As a champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, CDC is committed to supporting innovative companies that are working to increase access to affordable and clean energy in Africa. SolarX is providing a much-needed solution for C&I companies and is well-positioned to ignite the renewable energy sector, which remains a critical pillar for development on the continent. We are excited to see the EAV team enter frontier markets and we’re pleased by their support of SolarX as they grow in Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and beyond.

Investment Manager at CDC Group

About SolarX

SolarX is a renewable energy company focused on providing reliable, clean and affordable energy solutions to commercial and industrial clients in West Africa. By offering a one-stop shop for commercial clients, the company provides easy access to financing and energy efficiency services, while allowing the companies to focus on their core business and operate on environmentally friendly and cost-efficient energy sources.

The company was founded by Omnium Invest’s management team, who have been operational in Mali for the past 20 years and have experienced similar pain points given their nature of business. Their focus on the manufacturing sector opened their eyes to the need for cheaper, reliable and efficient energy sources.

About Energy Access Ventures

Energy Access Ventures (EAV) is a leading early-stage investment fund in Africa. With over 40 years of investment experience in Africa, EAV is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the emerging smart, distributed, cost-effective infrastructure market segment. EAV has established a reputation as a hands-on investor that works closely with its portfolio companies to capitalize on the significant opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa. EAV’s first fund (“EAV I”) was raised in February 2015 and is €75,000,000 in size with nine investment professionals. The fund is sponsored by the leading French multinational Schneider Electric and is managed by Aster Capital in Paris. Its investors are CDC Group (U.K.), managing funds for the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the European Investment Bank, the Fonds d’Investissement et de Soutien aux Entreprises en Afrique (FISEA) held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and managed by Proparco, the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM), administered by AFD, Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Netherlands Development Finance Company, and OPEC.

About CDC Group

CDC Group is the U.K’s first impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa. CDC is a leading player in the fight against climate change and a U.K. champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – the global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all. The company has investments in over 1,200 businesses in emerging economies and a total portfolio value of £5.8bn. This year CDC will invest over $1.5bn in companies in Africa and Asia with a focus on fighting climate change, empowering women and creating new jobs and opportunities for millions of people. CDC is funded by the U.K government and all proceeds from its investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia. CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.

PayGo Energy, an Energy Access Ventures (EAV) portfolio company, has secured a strategic investment from Saisan Company Ltd (Saisan), a leading Japanese energy company. 

As part of the partnership, PayGo will launch its proprietary Cylinder Smart Meter across Saisan’s Gas One retail network to provide Asian households with access to pay-as-you-go liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for the first time. PayGo will leverage Saisan’s investment capital to establish a foothold in the region. 

For PayGo, the partnership provides a footprint in fast-growing emerging economies in South Asia, and a clear path to scale; leveraging Saisan’s extensive distribution and retail network, and the company’s deep expertise in downstream LPG.

At EAV, we are extremely proud of the PayGo Energy team who have collectively delivered on strategic milestones in East Africa with great skill. We believe Saisan’s investment and partnership mark the next phase of PayGo’s growth, and we are excited to help the team make their truly game-changing technologies a reality for customers across emerging markets

Partner, Energy Access Ventures

EAV has been a true growth partner since day one, adding value far beyond its capital to support us all the way from piloting our proof of concept to reaching this critical milestone. In Saisan we have a partner with generations of LPG experience and a trusted retail brand. We’re excited to work with Saisan to bring our technology to households across the region

CEO & Co-Founder of PayGo Energy

For Saisan, PayGo’s technology enables the company to expand its LPG business and to strengthen its reputation as a driver of digital innovation in the LPG sector.

We’re thrilled to be pioneering PayGo’s innovative smart metering technology in Asia, and to provide our customers with the world’s best gas service.

President & CEO of Saisan

PayGo has also secured investment from the Japan-backed VC fund, Kepple Africa Ventures. Kepple helps blue-chip African startups raise funds from and form strategic partnerships with large Japanese corporates.

The deal sees PayGo continue to build momentum as the company gears up for its Series B raise in the coming months. 

About PayGo Energy

PayGo Energy is a venture-backed technology company, founded in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015. PayGo’s vision is to ‘Unlock Clean Cooking for the Next Billion’. PayGo builds hardware and software solutions to help grow early-stage markets for LPG. PayGo’s patented Cylinder Smart Meter (CSM) is an IoT device that accurately measures the flow of gas from an LPG cylinder in the customer’s home, enabling households to pay for gas in small amounts using mobile money. The PayGo CSM is the only LPG smart meter on the market that is certified under ATEX directives. 

About Saisan Company Ltd.

Saisan is a vertically integrated energy business, headquartered in Saitama, Japan and founded in 1945. Saisan’s vision is to become a premier company of general energy and living support businesses. in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Saisan is the eighth largest LPG distributor in Japan, and holds downstream investments in 9 other Asian markets (Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand Laos and India) under its Gas One Group. 

About Energy Access Ventures

Energy Access Ventures is a leading early-stage investment firm in Africa. With over 40 years of investment experience in Africa, EAV is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the emerging smart, distributed, low-carbon infrastructure market segment. EAV’s first fund was raised in February 2015 and is €75,000,000 in size with 9 investment professionals, and 13 portfolio companies to date. The fund is sponsored by the leading French multinational, Schneider Electric, and is managed by Aster Capital in Paris. Its investors are CDC, European Investment Bank, Proparco, Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial, FMO, OFID and Schneider Electric. 

Let’s face it, times are tough. We are in the midst of a major health crisis that, depending on its outcome, could lead to the biggest economic crisis in our recent history.

In this fight against Covid-19, we all have a role to play. In our article on our advice to the startups wanting to define the Next Normal, we advise the startups that can to transition parts of their business to support the war economy.

At Aster, we are delighted to see that our founders are showing such a sense of solidarity. In this article, we have chosen to shed light on 4 initiatives carried out by our Aster family.

1. Karos — Donated 100,000 carpool rides

Karos has donated 100,000 comfortable carpool rides completely free of charge to the devoted people working in hospitals in Paris, to make their lives a little easier. This credit block hasn’t expired yet, so if you happen to know someone working in a hospital in Paris, feel free to let them know!

Karos offers short distance car sharing solutions for daily commutes from home to office.

Website ∣ Linkedin ∣ Twitter ∣ Facebook

2. Opendatasoft — Building Covid-19 dashboards for local communities, free of charge

Opendatasoft has decided to help local communities share their Covid-19 data, free of charge, to keep residents informed and to help data scientists fine-tune their predictive models.

A few inspiring examples:

Opendatasoft is the data sharing platform teams use to access, reuse and share data to grow their businesses.

Website ∣ Linkedin ∣ Twitter ∣ Facebook

3. Hadean — Creating massive scale simulations of Covid-19 with the Francis Crick Institute

Hadean has partnered with The Francis Crick Institute to accelerate the development of a single and massive scale simulation of how Covid-19 spreads. Predictive models are essential to lift lockdowns restrictions in a controlled manner.

Hadean is building the foundations of scalable distributed computing.

Website ∣ Linkedin ∣ Twitter ∣ Facebook

4. Atlantium UV — Carried out scientific research on the effectiveness of its UV tech to disinfect Covid-19 in water

Atlantium has carried out scientific research to review the effectiveness of its medium pressure Hydro-Optic™ (HOD) UV technology — validated to a 4-log virus inactivation per the U.S. EPA guidelines with adenovirus — to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 in water.

Atlantium offers an innovative water treatment solution that uses ultraviolet (UV) light.

Website ∣ Linkedin ∣ Twitter ∣ Facebook

Aster Capital

A leading Venture Capital firm with offices in Paris, London, Tel Aviv, San Francisco & Nairobi

For over 20 years, Aster has partnered with visionary founders driven by the ambition to transform the energy, mobility and industry 4.0 sectors.

We are a VC that fast-track our founders’ visions by giving them immediate access to mentorship. And, with access to a global network of corporates built on two decades of backing exceptional talent, we help build scalable and long-lasting businesses.

Aster has raised 6 funds over 20 years, totaling €520m.

ekWateur, the leading independent and alternative supplier of green energy, raises 10.6 million euros.

These funds, raised from Aster, historical and new investors (1 million come from its record collaborative fundraising on the Sowefund platform) will enable to accelerate its growth, develop new offers and above all continue to defend its vision of a successful ecological transition.

Read the full press release in French here

Swiftly  just raised a $10 million Series A round led by VIA ID, Aster Capital, Renewal Funds and Wind Capital to grow its software-as-a-service business for cities’ transportation agencies. lt works by helping cities manage their transit systems and identify points in the schedule or route that negatively impact service efficiency and reliability.

Swiftly also offers real-time passenger info that will “predict when the bus will arrive in a way that is much more accurate than the current system,” Swiftly co-founder and CEO Jonny Simkin. In fact, Simkin says Swiftly is up to 30% more accurate than current systems.

“It’s one thing to tell someone their bus is 10 minutes delayed, but if we can get to the root of the problem, it’s better for the city and stimulates the economy,” he said.

That’s where Swifty’s data platform comes in to gather insights and analyze historical data to rethink route planning and where to place stops. In one city, these insights led the customer to implement processes to change lights to green when a bus is running behind schedule.

Swiftly currently works with more than 50 cities and 2,500 transit professionals throughout the country. That comes out to powering more than 1.2 billion passenger trips per year. If you’ve never heard of Swiftly, you’re not alone. And that’s by design.

Swiftly is meant to be behind-the-scenes software that enables local transportation agencies to better manage their fleets and offerings to their respective riders. Swiftly’s customer is generally either a transit agency, a city or department of transportation.

“They buy our platform because they want to improve the passenger experience, and improve service reliability and efficiency,” Simkin said.

For the passenger, they experience Swiftly when they open Google Maps and look for transit routes or when they open a city’s specific transit service. One of Swiftly’s customers is the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif. Its CIO, Gary Miskell, says Swiftly is one of the authority’s early innovation partners.

“With Swiftly’s innovative product development, VTA has been able to improve our real time information accuracy and provide cutting edge data to our planning and operations staff thus improving our transit system performance,” Miskell said in a statement.

With the funding, the plan is to expand to several hundred cities in the U.S. and worldwide.

“Public transit is very important to our communities and cities and it’s something that needs to be more efficient,” Simkin said. “Public transit is this extensive piece of the community and there to serve everyone, but often times those tools fall short.”

For the second year in a row, Aster was thrilled to be sponsor of the VC Night, the official Viva Technology launch party set in Montorgueil Street on May 15th. From 7pm until late, Aster welcomed international startups attending VivaTech in a casual atmosphere at Le Lézard Café.
See a few pictures below.

Discover the pictures of the event: