These French who are building the Web3 business

Frédéric Montagnon, web pioneer and founder of Arianee

Frédéric Montagnon, co-founder of ArianeeDR

A Web2 pioneer with the founding of Overblog, the 46-year-old entrepreneur is now weaving his web into the internet of the future. In 2017, he launched Arianee to help brands create, distribute and operate NFTs. “Until a few months ago, the subject was still confidential. Now there is no CMO of a company that can afford not to have a Web3 strategy”explains Frédéric Montagnon.

The Parisian start-up has developed an all-in-one platform, a type of Web3 customer relationship software, and has won contracts with some 50 companies, including Le Printemps, the Casino group and Breitling. An idea that appealed to investors with a €20 million fundraiser during a Tiger Capital-led roundtable on May 10.

Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, Frédéric Montagnon first invested as a business angel in the crypto sector before launching LGO, a cryptocurrency exchange platform for institutions in the United States and one of the first to be registered as a digital asset service provider (PSAN) by the AMF. .

Convinced that “Blockchain gives users and companies back the power over their data”he then launched Arianee with Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel. “Decentralized technologies will make it possible to realize the digital transformation of companies and change their relationship with their customers. As they free themselves from the Gafam to regain their sovereigntyexplains Frédéric Montagnon. What wakes me up in the morning is the ambition to participate in this new internet revolution. ».

Jérôme de Tychey pushes the boundaries of gaming with Cometh and the blockchain

Jerome van Tychey, founder of Cometh

Jerome van Tychey, founder of ComethDR

Jerome van Tychey launched Cometh to “put blockchain into gaming”. The start-up makes games based on blockchain technology. Gaming sounded like a no-brainer for the former Warcraft player who’s with us “a good national level”. The first game, Cometh.io, developed on the Polygon blockchain, brought together more than 10,000 players in 2021, according to the start-up with about 15 employees in Paris. “A success we surfed to launch our fundraiser”explains the founder, referring to the $10 million funding round that was launched in early May.

The start-up’s other activity consists of providing white label tools to video game professionals to enable them to integrate blockchain into their offerings. In blockchain games, players can own, trade and resell characters or accessories in the form of NFTs that are useful for the gaming experience. “This technology will disrupt the industry like 3D and network gaming did in the 1990s-2000s”says Jérôme de Tychey, who has found the way to push the current boundaries of the industry with the blockchain.

A figure in the French blockchain ecosystem, the former normalien participates with Simon Polrot in the development of Ethereum France, of which he has chaired since 2016. The association creates content to make this technology accessible and organizes events such as The Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC), a reference in Europe. The next session, July 19-21, will feature Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

Séraphie de Tracy, at the head of Cohort, new nugget from 3Founders

Séraphie de Tracy, Co-founder of Cohort

Séraphie de Tracy, Co-founder of CohortDR

With Séraphie de Tracy at the helm, things moved very quickly for Cohort. “Six weeks to set up our product, eight to sign our first customer”, explains the entrepreneur. Cohort joined the start-up studio eFounders, which most notably released two tricolor unicorns, Aircall and Spendesk.

The start-up is the first project of their new ambition: discovering the future nuggets of Web3 together with 3Founders. Like Arianee, Cohort is developing a SaaS solution to democratize the use of NFTs for brands and their customers. “NFTs are a technology vehicle that allows brands to provide a passport to a radically different customer experience”says Seraphie de Tracy.

This HEC graduate became familiar with blockchain during her time in the City of London, before joining Stratumn, a former French nugget in decentralized financial services. In particular, she will cross paths with Nicolas Julia, one of the founders of Sorare, whose success de “potential of NFTs”.

This industry must evolve to be accessible to as many people as possible, Séraphie de Tracy believes. “Web3 is still a closed club that excludes the uninitiated. We want brands to be able to reach everyone. » At Cohort, the environmental issue is also central.

It is for this reason that the platform was developed on Polygon, which aims to be the first “climate positive” blockchain. In a “green manifesto”, the network recently pledged to be carbon neutral by the end of the year and climate positive in the future (by reducing its CO2 and a $20 million compensation policy).

Sébastien Borget, one of the fathers of The Sandbox, the essential metaverse

Sébastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox

Sébastien Borget, co-founder of The SandboxDR

In the media whirlwind caused by the rise of the metaverse, the name The Sandbox has become essential. And with it that of its two French creators, Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget. But success did not come overnight. The Sandbox is their third entrepreneurial video game venture, launched in 2011 to enable game makers to develop their pixelated 2D characters and games. “Over the next eight years, we attracted 40 million installs and 70 million user-generated worlds.recalls Sebastien Borget. But we were frustrated that we couldn’t reward creators. »

It was the discovery of the blockchain and NFTs in 2017 that would help them solve this equation and make The Sandbox one of the most promising visions of the metaverse. Thanks to the blockchain, each created 3D content (character, object, etc.) is linked to an NFT, which can then be resold transparently on a marketplace.

“Each user owns their own digital assets. It is an open metaverse, unlike Roblox and Facebook, who own the content and therefore use it as they please.”underlined Sébastien Borget last year with “Echos”, whose start-up is owned by Animoca Brands, a video game company from Hong Kong.

To date, there are several hundred creators around the world. “Some get all their income from The Sandbox. There are even video game studios that have a team dedicated to our platform”, explains the entrepreneur. After raising $93 million in a financing round led by SoftBank in November, the start-up could soon raise $400 million at a Bloomberg estimated value of $4 billion.

Nicolas Julia, at the origin of Sorare, entertainment giant 3.0

Nicolas Julia, co-founder of Sorare

Nicolas Julia, co-founder of SorareJulien Faure

Nicolas Julia’s ambition is clear: “Creating tomorrow’s sports entertainment champion. » With Adrien Monfort, in 2017 they bet that NFTs could change the entertainment experience in sports and launched Sorare. A “fantasy football” game based on the purchase and sale of rare digital cards, combining playing and investing. “We were soon convinced that the specifics of NFT technology, like digital scarcity or the issue of traceability, would lead to a technological change that would have the same impact on our lives as the advent of ‘Internet or smartphone’, explains the 35-year-old entrepreneur.

The former employee of EM Lyon started his career in consulting before co-founding an incubator (La Javaness) and discovering the various blockchain applications at Stratumn, a pioneering French start-up in the sector.

If investors were initially skeptical about the project, five years later, Nicolas Julia’s bet is well on its way to being fulfilled. At the end of 2021, Sorare completed the largest fundraising in French Tech history at $680 million, bringing the valuation to nearly $4.3 billion. Like the booming NFT market in 2021, Sorare has increased the number of active users tenfold in one year, claiming 270,000 active users for 1 million registered users on the platform.

After European football, Nicolas Julia is now attacking the lucrative US market, announcing a partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States in May. And Sorare doesn’t want to stay with that. “Another collaboration with a new sport is being prepared”predicts the trader, who has not yet played all his cards.

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