Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Hypepotamus and is published on Global Atlanta as part of our content partnership with the Southeast’s top source for innovation news. Sign up for Hypepotamus newsletters here.
It’s almost as if all signs pointed to Atlanta for French unicorn startup Exotec.
Rudi Lueg, Exotec’s managing director for North America, said that the warehouse robotics company was looking for an east coast base after closing its €295 million Series D round earlier this year. The team already had three Georgia Tech graduates working at its Lille, France, office when Exotec started hunting for space on the other side of the Atlantic.
“The city’s other specs aligned perfectly with the needs for Exotec’s American home,” Lueg told Hypepotamus. “Atlanta has a robust supply chain industry, an affordable cost of living and a robust and growing talent pool — from local colleges and universities. In fact, Exotec is actively working with the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines to continue to recruit local talent.”
The startup reached unicorn status with a $2 billion valuation as it looks to improve warehouse throughput with its modular robotic technology. Atlanta is now solidly part of its growth trajectory.
The startup set up shop just south of Buckhead for its 45 employees and has plans to add an additional 20 people to the team mix by the end of 2022. CEO and co-founder Romain Moulin also relocated as the Atlanta branch of the company expands.
“At Exotec, North America represents a very important and fast-growing market for warehouse robotics. When we looked to expand our footprint here, we knew almost simultaneously that Atlanta would be the perfect place for our American home. It just made sense,” Mr. Lueg added.
Exotec is one of several French startups that have connected to the city through the French American Chamber of Commerce Atlanta and La French Tech. As a sign of the French focus on Atlanta’s tech sector, the organizations moved to Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a mobility hub in the metro Atlanta area, in 2021.
La French Tech has been paving the way for French and Atlanta startups to intersect and ultimately grow their talent bases in both places. The organization just celebrated one year at Curiosity Lab, and the France-Georgia connection has only grown stronger.
Some of the higher-profile companies connecting France and Georgia include restaurant-focused app Sunday, which raised $124 million in funding over two rounds, and OVHcloud, a French cloud infrastructure company that has partnered with Peachtree Corners to expand its mobility technology capabilities.
Those U.S. startups looking to plug into France, and French startups looking to drive innovation stateside, will both have their next opportunity to network together on October 24 when La French Tech hosts its evening pitch competition at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.