Aquafadas completes €1.2 million financing round

Aquafadas, a company specialising in the development and marketing of software for processing digital images and video, has completed a financing round of €1.2 million with Crédit Agricole Private Equity, Soridec and a number of private investors.

Aquafadas is positioned as the European player of reference in the distribution of digital comic strips. The finance raised will enable the company to consolidate its foothold in this market, and will be used, notably, for the development of Aquafadas’ comic-strip catalogue and the acquisition of publishing licences, as well as for digitisation and commercial rollout.

Aquafadas, an innovative company based in Montpellier, France, was set up in January 2006 by Claudia Zimmer and Matthieu Kopp. It achieved turnover of almost €580 thousand in 2008, thanks to the marketing of its first Mac-based applications for video cataloguing and processing. Currently, 90% of its sales are made via the Internet, and almost 85% outside of France.

Aquafadas’s expertise has already earned it several innovation awards in France and the United States. These include the O’Reilly Mac Innovators Award in San Francisco (2004), a French government award for the creation of innovative companies (2005), the French Objectif Jeune Pousse Award (2006) and the French Sénat Tremplin Entreprise Award in the software category (2008). In 2006, Aquafadas also received backing from the French national film council (CNC) for its submission following a request for proposals issued by the RIAM (audiovisual and multimedia research and innovation) network.

Aquafadas has broadened its offer and is adapting its technology to meet the needs of the comicstrip sector, creating Ave!Comics Production, a platform for the sale and downloading of digital comic strips to be read on computers, iPods, multimedia tablets (e.g. tabbee) and mobile phones (e.g. iPhone or Blackberry). Since 1 July, the company has put a range of 200 digital comic strips on sale, in partnership with some 20 comic-strip publishers, including Soleil and Les Humanoïdes Associés.

“We are proud to be backing this young company, which has developed a unique, innovative electronic-publishing platform for the comic-strip sector. Its team combines a comprehensive range of expertise in the areas of software development and Internet project management,” stated Crédit Agricole Private Equity venture capital  ssociate François-Xavier Dedde.

Geneviève Blanc, an investment manager with regional investment-capital company Soridec, welcomed the opportunity to invest in one of the region’s most promising start-ups, which aims to become Europe’s leading publisher of digital comic strips.

“The future of the comic strip – like that of video, music and games – is digital, and we’re pleased to be playing our part in this revolution, with the support of Crédit Agricole Private Equity and Soridec. The financing round will enable us to acquire additional digital rights, stay at the cutting edge of technology and promote this new reading mode,” said Aquafadas President Claudia Zimmer.

As a young, innovative company, Aquafadas meets the requirements for investors to enjoy French wealth-tax (ISF) benefits. This is the first transaction conducted by Crédit Agricole Private Equity in association with regional investment-capital company Soridec, within the framework of a partnership dedicated to financing companies less than five years old in the Languedoc- Roussillon region.

Investment team
François-Xavier Dedde, Associate, venture Capital, Crédit Agricole Private Equity
Geneviève Blanc, Investment Manager, Soridec

Press Contact
Crédit Agricole Private Equity
Martine Sessin-Caracci,, + 33 (0)1 43 23 90 88

Crédit Agricole Private Equity is an AMF-accredited asset-management subsidiary of Crédit Agricole S.A., specialising in direct private-equity investment in non-listed companies.
A multi-specialist player in the private-equity market, it has a team of 80 professionals operating in a variety of areas (LBO & Expansion, Venture Capital, Mezzanine, Co-Investment, Renewable Energy, PPP Infrastructure, etc.), and manages €2.8 billion in a variety of private-equity vehicles (FCPRs, SICARs, FCPIs and SCRs).
The 12-strong Venture Capital team manages €400 million through FCPIs invested in youngcompanies with high growth potential in the technology and life-sciences sectors.

SORIDEC is an investment-capital company with mixed public-private capital of €22 million, located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. SORIDEC’s non-specialist positioning enables it to participate in projects spanning a broad spectrum of activities, including life sciences, IT, manufacturing and services to industry.
SODIREC can finance companies at all stages of their development. Demand over the past three years has prompted SODIREC to focus largely on feasibility studies, company creation and the transfer of SMEs and SMIs. At 31 March 2008, SORIDEC had a total of €16 million invested in 60 companies.