Applications due 29 Feb.: Foundry debuts Paris’s first fashion tech incubator

(Editors note: This is not an endorsement of the Foundry incubator. Dispatches received no remuneration for this post. Also, Vongai N. Ruzive’s name was misspelled in the original version of this post.)

Paris, one of Europe’s most celebrated fashion capitals, joins Milan and Berlin in opening a center for fashion tech. Based at IFA Paris fashion school in the 19th Arrondissement, The Startup Program at the Foundry Powered by IFA Paris is Paris’s first fashion-tech innovation lab/incubator.

Applications are now open for Foundry’s 6-month startup incubator program that starts in March, and you can join in, expats, because the program is in English.

This program is designed to provide pre-stage/seed level startups a place to work, grow and network, said Vongai N. Ruzive, Foundry business developer.

“Our lab is specialized in fashion tech and the program helps startups identify customers, work on business models with the development of unique selling points and bringing ideas to life,” said Ruzive, who’s British.

Startups will focus on solving complex industry problems in four fashion tech domains:

• design & product creation

• sustainability

• supply chain

• retail

The Foundry is a take on the shared-workspace business model with a fashion design school thrown in. Startups pay to enter the program with coworking space included in the fee. The incubator takes a 5-percent equity piece.

But in addition to workspace, startups have access to all the equipment, which includes 3D body scanners as well as an ecosystem of experts, partners and academics.

IFA is the first in France to have the body scanner sponsored by TG3D Studio, Ruzive said.

Foundry startups get:

• fixed and roaming co-working desks

• access to the makerspace with 3D printers, laser cutters and the 3D body

• access to the event demo space

The most important reason to join is access to a network in areas including fashion technology and entrepreneurship, Ruzive said. At the end of the startup incubator, there’s a demo day where teams present to investors. Post-program partnerships are also possible, she added.

One of the candidates will win the IBM Fashion Tech Innovation Award covering the full cost of the program along with mentorship from IBM Studios Paris, a tour at their headquarters to meet the directors and a demonstration of how client presentations/pitches are delivered.

A number of retailers are part of the Paris ecosystem including COS (H&M Group) and LVMH.

The details

For the incubator, startups pay 600 euros per month full time or 395 per month part-time, plus give the Foundry 5-percent equity stake.

The first cohort receives:

• a fixed desk in the co-working space

• mentorship from industry specialists

• access to our machinery/3D design (including 3D printers, laser cutters, Oculus Quest VR design, body scanner and pattern software

• access to demo space for presentations/workshops

• meeting room/areas for private business meeting

• access to Foundry partners including IBM, Cos, Coty, Lectra and LVMH

• slot to pitch to investors at the end of the program during the demo day and much more

Startups and entrepreneurs can join as community members for 99 euros per month for the first year, working at their own pace.

The community membership includes:

• 30 hours access to machinery/3D design & pattern software in the first 3 months

• access to masterclasses and events

• a one-hour consultation with an industry specialist 

• access to a hot desk for drop-ins

Applications can be submitted here by 29 February.

More information is available on the Foundry website here as well as on its Instagram and LinkedIn social media pages. Businesses can attend a Startup Info Day next month by registering here or visiting physical/virtual tours here.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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