Neovia funds equine 'internet of things'

Investment to support development of connected objects in equine market.

Neovia Venture announced July 29 an equity investment in the French start-up Equisense, which specializes in connected objects — also known as the "internet of things" — for the equine market.

Launched on July 8, the Neovia investment fund (formerly InVivo NSA) is dedicated to innovative projects and companies. This is the fund’s first investment, which it said demonstrates its ambition to act as an accelerator for open innovation and a start-up incubator in its new global innovation center, We’nov.

Connected objects

Founded in 2014, Equisense develops connected objects for the equine market that help foster interactions between riders and their horses via touch sensors. These also provide the opportunity to improve horse health as well as the use of new digital tools that enable better performance monitoring and interaction.

"As part of our fund-raising, we are very pleased to be able to count on the strength of Neovia, our sole industrial investor on this market. This support will allow us to accelerate our development in France and internationally," Equisense chief executive officer and co-founder Benoit Blancher said.

The collaboration between the Lille, France-based start-up and Neovia should also quickly bear fruit with the announced creation of a solution (sensor and applications) for accurate analysis of the performance of competition horses, which translates the horse’s activity data into a nutritional diagnosis.

As a leader in equine nutrition in France, Brazil and Mexico, Neovia has unique know-how, with more than 40 years of expertise, 10 national brands and an international brand (Royal Horse), combined with a presence in 11 countries. With more than 6 million horses in Europe, the equine and competition horse market represent one of the major growth and innovation levers for Neovia’s pet care activities. For example, the horse industry in France alone represents a total turnover of 14 billion euros.

With 5 million euros, Neovia Venture aims to take minority interests in innovative companies related to its five priority innovation fields: interactive petline, smart farming, intensive aquaculture, optimization of resources and functional ingredients.

Neovia CEO Hubert de Roquefeuil emphasized, "This investment in Equisense accompanies the natural evolution of the pet market with greater digitalization and the increasing use of connected objects. Through our various global operations, in particular, Brazil — the second-largest equine market in the world — we hope to accelerate the development of business and technology partnerships in order to offer an increasingly innovative range of products and solutions.”

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