Publicis90: Publicis Groupe is Financing 90 Startups at #vivatech

On the occasion of its 90th anniversary, Publicis Groupe has launched #Publicis90, a global initiative to provide funding and mentoring for a selection of 90 of the most innovative startups or scale-ups. The call for entries, which was launched in January 2016, was a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Publicis founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. Over 3,500 applications were received from more than 130 countries by entrepreneurs, students and by Publicis Groupe employees. 

These 3,500 projects were put through a stringent and completely anonymous selection process to identify the 90 winners, i.e. less than 3% of all applicants. The process entailed:

  • An initial filtering by some one hundred digital experts from Publicis Groupe
  • Analysis by Iris Capital
  • A final selection made by a global jury comprised of leading executives such as, Stéphane Richard (Orange), Carolyn Everson (Facebook), Carlo D’Asaro Biondo (Google), SY Lau (Tencent)
  • The full list of jury members is available on the Publicis90 website at

The 90 projects selected are a good reflection of the regional dynamics within the digital ecosystem, with 23% of all projects coming from the USA, 18% from France and 14% from the United Kingdom, followed by Germany (7%), Israel (6%) and India (3%). Approximately 16% of these projects are from emerging countries.

25 projects are championed by “intra-preneurs” (entrepreneurs from within Publicis Groupe), while the remaining 65 projects have been submitted by startups already in existence, by students or budding entrepreneurs.

All sectors of the economy are represented. Marketing and communications account for a very large number of projects, but there are also startups in healthcare, fintech, retailing, etc. All the cutting edge technologies are represented among the final 90, from blockchains to Big Data, as well as virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IOT). 

The full list of the 90 winners is available at Below, the top three winning startups:

  • Emerald Medical Applications: an Israeli startup specialized in dermatology that uses state-of-the-art image recognition technology for faster, easier detection of skin cancers.

  • Recast.Ai: the first French startup founded by School 42 graduates, is a collaborative platform allowing developers to create a bot and implement it on any messaging service. Developers can extract usable data from textual and voice expressions through vocal recognition technology. 

  • Wiseye: an Israeli startup specialized in retail and the Internet of Things providing retail and store chains with a customer behavior platform that draws in data from various sources like point-of-sales, wireless devices and other available inputs. 

All 90 winning startups were all invited to attend the three days of Viva Technology Paris and were awarded during a ceremony on the main stage in the presence of Elisabeth Badinter, Chair of Publicis Groupe’s Supervisory Board, and Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe.

They will now receive support from Publicis Groupe to help them develop and build the Publicis Groupe of the future. Each will receive an investment ranging from 10,000€ to 500,000€. A mentor chosen from among Publicis Groupe’s experts in digital, marketing and communications will also support the people championing these startups.

Thanks to the support of the Henner Group, a longtime partner of Publicis Groupe, the winning projects will also receive insurance support for one year in order to help them get their projects off the ground.

As for the “intra-preneurs” (Publicis Groupe employees whose projects have been selected), their projects will be carried out within the Groupe by their developers. After six months, a decision will be made on whether the project has the credentials to merit being incubated by the Groupe, while reserving a substantial portion of the share capital for the projects’ developers.

According to Maxime Baffert, CEO of Proximédia, who is leading Publicis90: “The Groupe’s involvement has enabled us to identify very promising startups from all over the world and in all fields. This is really a starting point for them, as they will now be able to develop thanks to the support they will receive from Publicis Groupe”.

Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe said “Rather than celebrating the past, we wanted to celebrate Publicis’ 90th anniversary in a manner consistent with the Groupe’s DNA, by looking to the future. And so, we will be funding and supporting entrepreneurial projects led by people inside and outside of the Groupe. I have been highly impressed by the quality of the projects which exceeded my hopes and expectations by far, thus demonstrating how vibrant the sector is, how energetic and entrepreneurial young people continue to be, and what huge potential there is in this sector. I would like to thank all the participants for this lesson in optimism, but also the in-house and independent juries, the experts, and Maxime Baffert who has orchestrated this entire operation with efficiency and talent.” 


Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in communication. The Groupe is positioned at every step of the value chain, from consulting to execution, combining marketing transformation and digital business transformation. Publicis Groupe is a privileged partner in its clients’ transformation to enhance personalization at scale. The Groupe relies on ten expertise concentrated within four main activities: Communication, Media, Data and Technology. Through a unified and fluid organization, its clients have a facilitated access to all its expertise in every market. Present in over 100 countries, Publicis Groupe employs around 103,000 professionals.