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ALIAD, Air Liquide’s venture capital investment arm, continues to gain strength in the industries of the future with three new equity investments in technology start-ups, Dietsensor and Ubleam, and in the investment fund Investisseurs & Partenaires. With these new equity investments in addition to its further financial commitment to six companies in which it has already invested before, ALIAD has committed more than €10 million to start-ups since the start of 2017.
The investment strategy of ALIAD targets sectors linked to the energy transition, health and digital. ALIAD supports start-ups that are developing the technologies of the future by rolling out R&D and/or business partnerships with Group entities.
In the first quarter of 2017, ALIAD invested in two new companies which forged partnerships with Air Liquide in the digital sector. This is about Ubleam, a start-up based in Toulouse that specializes in the Internet of Things, which is developing a tag technology to enhance the information delivered to the customer. Proof of concept testing was conducted with the Group to integrate these tags into gas cylinders for industry or healthcare. The other equity investment is in Dietsensor, a French company in the health-nutrition sector, which has developed an application for diabetic patients that helps them track the glucose levels of their meals.
In addition, ALIAD has invested in a private equity firm, Investisseurs & Partenaires, which is solely focused on the African continent and which offers financial support to the development of microfinance institutions and small- to mid-size businesses located across 15 African countries.
Lastly, ALIAD has reinforced its financial commitment to six companies in its portfolio, attesting to its long-term strategy to supporting start-ups: Solidia Technologies which cures concrete with CO2 instead of water, Avenisense which manufactures micro-sensors that measure fluid properties for use in industry, Inpria whose lithography technology is used to miniaturize electronic components for the semiconductor industry, Water Planet which provides industrial waste water treatment solutions, Aveni which develops an electrolytic deposit technology for the electronics industry and Quanta Dialysis Technologies which designs a hemodialysis device for use in specialized center or in patients’ homes.
François Darchis, Senior Executive Vice-President and member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee supervising Innovation, said: "The continued long-term investment of ALIAD in technology start-ups is part of the Air Liquide Group’s strategy of Open Innovation. This approach helps accelerate the pace of our innovation while allowing each start-up to benefit from Air Liquide's industrial and technological experience and access to potential customers around the world.”