Exotec becomes France's 25th unicorn

Following on from PayFit and Ankorstore, Exotec and Spendesk have now achieved unicorn status. France now boasts 26 unicorns, well ahead of the forecasts made by French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, who wanted the country to have at least 25 startups valued at over a billion dollars by 2025. Here's a look at France's first industrial unicorn.

335 million in fundraising

Founded in 2015 by Romain Moulin and Renault Heitz, Exotec designs revolutionary robotic systems for the supply chain. In particular, the startup based in northern France has developed the "Skypod" system, a retail order picking solution offering the best performance on the market while remaining flexible and adaptable to customer needs. A special feature of this system is that its sizing takes into account storage and flow requirements, enabling it to better meet customer expectations.


The global leader in warehouse robotics announced on January 17, 2022 a $335 million Series D financing round bringing its valuation to $2 billion. The financing round was led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management alongside Bpifrance, via its Large Venture fund, and 83North.

Exotec will use the funds to :

  • investing in future development and new technologies;
  • continue to launch large-scale deployments in North America, Europe and Asia;
  • strengthen its growing team.

The startup, which currently employs 370 people, plans to recruit almost 500 R&D engineers within the next three years.

France's first industrial unicorn

Exotec takes France past the threshold of 25 unicorns. It also becomes the first startup in the industry to be valued at over a billion dollars, a sector that has more difficulty raising financing than fintech, e-commerce or SaaS.

The robotics specialist has convinced investors with its strong financial results. After generating 7.4 million in revenues in 2018, the startup has doubled its sales every year, to 19.9 million in 2019 and 42.9 million in 2020. Exotec reports sales of 105 million euros in 2021 and aims to reach 200 million this year. The startup got off to a strong start by equipping the giant Cdiscount shortly after its launch. It then offered its intelligent robots to other players such as Décathlon, Uniqlo in Japan and Gap in the United States.

Exotec is one of only two French Tech unicorns headquartered outside the Paris region, along with Montpellier-based employee benefits start-up Swile. The company's ambition is now to expand internationally, particularly in the United States, as almost 40% of its business is already conducted outside Europe. To meet this new demand, the company will need to increase its industrial capacity.