MonacoTech Hails Electric Air Taxi In New Round Of Startups

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Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco


Air-Ion specializes in Air Taxi solutions with the Ariès 300-E, a fully autonomous, AI platform, electric-powered helicopter UAS using “fly-by-wire” technology.

MonacoTech, the government incubator partnered in 2017 with Xavier Niel, founder of Free mobile and No. 253 on Forbes Billionaires list, has just announced the latest five startups to join their accelerator program.

On June 30, a jury of seven picked from MonacoTech’s fifth round of applicants—38 representing 13 nationalities—choosing would-be entrepreneurs “that align with the Principality’s economic strategies and values.”

“The startups that have been selected to join MonacoTech are quite singular," director Lionel Galfré, who took over from Fabrice Marquet on January 13, tells Forbes Monaco. “They clearly stood out from other applicants, not only for the innovative dimension of their projects, but for the high caliber of the founders and teams who already have expertise and authority in their fields.”

Two Monaco-based startups have been selected. PKS, a RegTech project that provides ad hoc solutions for financial regulatory monitoring, reporting, and compliance activities and, launched July 2019 by Antoine Bahri, Carlo is the country’s first mobile application that gives consumers cash back for buying goods and services at local businesses.

“We know we’ll find the right support to continue our growth and prepare for scale up,” says Bahri, who grew up in Monaco. “It’s also an amazing opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs and help each other out in building an innovative and sustainable business.”

MonacoTech director Lionel Galfré. Photo: Philippe Fitte

The three international companies that have been named are Swiss-based Air-Ion which specializes in designing Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and a 100% electric air taxi, the Italian-based Mea Plant that makes non-absorbent substrate for sustainable vertical agriculture and Vizua, with offices in Paris, Montreal and Chicago, with its professional, multipurpose, interactive, 3D content collaborative platform.

Galfré, who is the former director of IMSEE, Monaco’s national statistics office, adds, “The perspective of supporting these projects is very exciting, all the more so in the context of the Covid crisis that generated many obstacles. It definitely changed the way we work at MonacoTech, prompting us to adapt, engage and communicate differently, without losing the enthusiasm, the mindset and determination that characterize us all.”

The five new startups are expected to arrive at the Fontvieille office in August. 

The jury was made up of a mix of local business minds: Rachid Abarki, President of 42 Nice; Stanislas Boulet d’Auria, Managing Director of 3X Engineering; François-Xavier Le Clerc, Head of the government’s Economy Funding & Development Office, and State Administrator of MonacoTech; André Saint-Mleux, President of Arthapol, Business Angel and State Administrator of Monaco Telecom; Nathalie Schlemmer-Maire, Founder of Dépil Tech; Philippe Schriqui, Entrepreneur; and Pierre Van Klaveren, National advisor and co-founder of VK*P Business Advisors.

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Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco

Nancy Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.