Grenoble, May 2, 2018 - Kalray, a pioneer in processors for new intelligent systems, announced two new investors: Alliance Ventures, the venture capital fund of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and Bpifrance as part of Definvest, the investment fund managed on behalf of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. This transaction amounts to 10M€, including existing and new shareholders; this is the second tranche  of the 23.6M€ funding through Safran Corporate Ventures, the Asian investment fund Pengpai, and the long-standing shareholders ACE Management, CEA Investissement, EUREKAP! and Inocap Gestion.
“Intelligent” processors have the capability to analyze on the fly, and in an intelligent manner, a very large flow of information, and to react and make decisions in real time. These intelligent processors are being extensively deployed in fast-growing sectors such as new-generation computer networks, autonomous vehicles, healthcare equipment, as well as drones and robots. Kalray has decided to focus initially on two markets: intelligent data centers and intelligent vehicles, each with a potential of over 1 billion euros. The raised funds will enable the commercial deployment of the existing processor, and the final development of the new generation, scheduled to be launched in 2019.
Eric Baissus, president and CEO of Kalray, has declared: “We are delighted to have been granted these new venture capital funds. Given that next-generation vehicles are one of our priorities, we could not imagine a better strategic partner than Alliance Ventures, the venture capital fund of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s most successful automotive alliance. As for the participation of Bpifrance and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces through the Definvest fund, it strongly endorses the technological leadership of our solutions in the market, including the defense market.”
“Kalray has been developing a new type of processor for the past 10 years, which offers key features — the ratio of computing power to power consumption, and the ability to integrate a large number of critical functions onto a single chip, especially for the new-generation cars that we will be developing. The Kalray processors are already fitted in the Symbioz® autonomous concept-car, which we have been testing for several months. This investment in Kalray is indeed very strategic” has added François Dossa, Head of Alliance Ventures, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi venture capital fund.
Kalray has been supported by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces since 2010. To strengthen its support for the development of this strategic company, the Definvest fund has acquired a stake, thus undertaking its first transaction. Launched last November with a budget of 50 million euros granted by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Definvest is managed by Bpifrance.
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has stated: “The Ministry of the Armed Forces is steering a steady course towards innovation and all those who dare innovate. Kalray is Definvest’s first investment and I know many will follow. This first investment sends out a strong signal to all entrepreneurs, researchers and engineers: National Defense believes in you, invests for you”.
“Kalray is among these innovating French start-ups and SMEs that develop disruptive technology which is promising, and strategic for our country. The Definvest fund offers a solution to these businesses, whose funding is key to sustainability” has explained Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance.
Kalray’s legal counsel:
- Legal: Jones Day (Charles Gavoty, Alexandre Wibaux, Jeremie Noel)
Investors’ legal and financial counsel:
- Legal: Gide (Pierre Karpik, Arnaud de Keulenaer), Bonna Auzas (Sigmund Briant)
- Financial: Grant Thornton (Nicolas Tixier)
Kalray is the pioneer of processors for new intelligent systems. As a real technological breakthrough, “intelligent” processors have the capability to analyze on the fly, and in an intelligent manner, a very large amount of information, make decisions and interact in real time with the outside world. These intelligent processors are being extensively deployed in fast-growing sectors such as new-generation networks (intelligent datacenters) and autonomous vehicles, as well as healthcare, drones and robots. The Kalray offer encompasses processors as well as complete solutions (electronic boards and software). Created in 2008, as a spin-off of the CEA, Kalray addresses a broad spectrum of clients, among which server manufacturers, intelligent system integrators and consumer product manufacturers, such as car manufacturers. For more information.
Definvest, a fund launched on November 16, 2017 and managed by Bpifrance on behalf of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, has a mission to acquire equity shares in the capital of high-tech gems in the defense sector, alongside financial and industrial investors. The objective is to enable these companies to grow independently, strong of their own equity. The fund has an initial budget of 50 million euros. It benefits from the joint expertise of Bpifrance and the the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA).
About the French Ministry of the Armed Forces’ support to innovation
Overall, the defense industry encompasses dozens of large industrial groups, 4,000 SMEs and mid-tier companies, offering employment opportunities to 200,000 people. This valuable, high-level and innovation-oriented industrial fabric is supported by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. Indeed, a strong defense industry is crucial to France’s strategic autonomy, and paramount to maintaining its operational supremacy, its protection and its active export policy. The 2019-2025 Military Planning bill, currently under review at the French Parliament, will intensify weapon programs and invest heavily in research, innovation and future armament, namely by extending the research and innovation budget to 1 billion euros by 2022. These investments will benefit the technological and industrial base of the defense sector in general, and all SMEs, start-ups and companies offering breakthrough technology in particular. These measures are part of the innovation policy initiated by the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, who has also announced the creation (besides that of Definvest) of the Defense Lab, an agency dedicated to defense innovation, and open to start-ups, the civilian economy and majors investments in terms of artificial intelligence. For more information.
Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, has the ambition to help businesses, ranging from start-ups to medium-sized companies, and occasionally large companies, to innovate, invest, grow and export. By sharing the risks with its private and public partners, Bpifrance provides a continuum of financing, from short-term credits to equity capital.
About Alliance Ventures
Alliance Ventures is a venture capital fund of up to $1 billion over the next five years, operated by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s leading automotive alliance. The fund, launched in 2018, with a $ 200 million initial investment is co-located in Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing from where it targets technology and business model innovation in vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, car connectivity and new mobility services. Alliance Ventures is the main interface with the Alliance and its member companies for start-ups, incubators, accelerators, investors and the venture capital eco-system. By drawing on expertise and business opportunities from across the world’s leading automotive alliance, we pursue strategic investments at all maturity stages in startups developing disruptive technologies or businesses.
For more information.
About the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Group
Renault, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors represent the world’s largest automotive alliance. It is the longest-lasting and most productive cross-cultural partnership in the auto industry. Together, the partners sold more than 10.6 million vehicles in nearly 200 countries in 2017. The member companies are focused on collaboration and maximizing synergies to boost competitiveness. They have strategic collaborations with other automotive groups, including Germany’s Daimler and China’s Dongfeng. This strategic alliance is the industry leader in zero-emission vehicles and is developing the latest advanced technologies, with plans to offer autonomous drive, connectivity features and services on a wide range of affordable vehicles. For more information on