NanoLeaf, launched as a startup in 2012, makes “smart lighting” – energy efficient panels and bulbs that respond to touch, voice, remote control and music. The Canadian firm does 45 per cent of its business in Europe and chose to open an office in Paris to anticipate further growth.  We asked 6 questions to the CEO Gimmy CHU.

  • CHU, please tell us more about Nanoleaf  ?

Nanoleaf designs and engineers innovative lighting products that integrate with the leading smart home platforms (Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa). Their light panels are sold in places like the Museum of Modern Art, Best Buy, Apple Retail, Home Depot and many more. Nanoleaf now has offices in Toronto, Paris and Shenzhen.

  • Why did you choose France as a destination for your European investment?

Paris is one of the best startup hubs in Europe. It’s a beautiful city and with the new government there are new initiatives to support starting up a business in France. Our intention was to create a Sales and Marketing office in Europe to support our fast-growing business there. We considered a few locations across EU and finally limited our selection to Paris and Munich for different reasons. We chose Paris because it’s one of the most active startup hubs in Europe and the city is full of European young talent attracted to work in startups. The recent initiatives in the last years by French governments to support foreign investments have been also a key element in our decision. In terms of business, we knew that setting up an office in Paris would help us to develop our sales in France which is now one of our top-three markets in Europe. Lastly the central location of Paris makes it easy for our team to travel across Europe to meet our partners or participate to exhibitions.

  • How is your investment taking shape?

We decided to set up a legal entity and an office in Paris in early 2018. We quickly hired few employees and kept developing the team during the months after. Now, our European sales account for about 40% of our global business.

  • What have been the crucial steps to it?

First step is to find the right people. All of our team members are multilingual and very knowledgable on global trade and marketing. Second, set up the legal entities. Third, figure out our supply chain for supporting the European market. 

  • How did you get helped locally?

Through our network, we had advice and guidance on how to set up an entity in Europe. We were also highly supported by several local agencies from French government or Paris regions: Business France, Paris Region Enterprises or Paris&Co for example. They gave us tips and advices, connected us with the right people and even offered us logistic support when we were looking for an office space (we get one month free in one of Paris&Co incubators).

  • What are the next steps for you company in France and in Europe?

We plan to continue growing and scaling our Nanoleaf brand in Europe. We’re forecasting to double our sales in 2019 in Europe with the support of our Paris office.


Visit NanoLeaf :

Contact Business France in Toronto: Elodie Relier