France’s Blade has raised €51 million (US$ 56.90) to reinvent the way PCs are used worldwide. With new funds in place, Blade now has the resources for a major boost to its production capacity of Shadow, its PC entirely based in the cloud.
The increased capacity means it can more quickly meet demand from French customers and expand internationally, focusing initially on Germany and the UK.
“After the CD and the DVD, it’s the PC’s turn to disappear and re-emerge as a service. It’s logical and inevitable. And thanks to the support of our investors, we’re part of this movement too, driving rapid change in France and internationally,” declared Emmanuel Freund, co-founder and CEO of Blade.
The new funding was raised from a group of tier one entrepreneurs, that includes Nopporn Suppipat, founder of Wind Energy Holding, Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, founder of PriceMinister and Michaël Benabou, co-founder of Vente-Privee.com. Nopporn Suppipat is Blade’s largest single investor and has also joined its strategic committee.
These prominent investors, who all also contributed to the first round of fund-raising of the start-up last year, are reaffirming their faith in the French tech start-up.
Founded in 2015 by Emmanuel Freund, Acher Criou and Stéphane Héliot, Blade said it has already met its initial target: that of proving the relevance of its technology and the efficiency of its model.
The first 500 Shadows sold out in under 12 hours when launched in October 2016. Blade is reported to have experienced significant growth since then, with a tenfold increase in its French customer base and the sale of all 5,000 units released to date.
The aim of this new round of fund-raising is to allow the company to meet demand in real time while “maintaining the technological edge it has acquired over the past two years”. The next step is international expansion, and it has plans to roll out the service more widely across Europe, starting with Germany and the UK by the fourth quarter of 2017, and then in the USA.
Shadow, the PC-as-a-service
With Shadow, Blade has invented a cloud-based, high-performance personal computer. This world-first technology, winner of a 2017 Digital Innovation Award from French public investment bank Bpifrance, enables any user with a high-speed internet connection to access their high-end PC via a dedicated terminal or an app.
Blade said that Shadow delivers significant advantages compared to traditional PCs:
- Easy, secure access to a personal computer via any internet-enabled device (laptop, tablet, smartphone and smart TV);
- Regular, no-cost component updates to our dedicated infrastructure — no more obsolete devices;
- An innovative subscription model: a PC worth around €1,500 (US$ 1673.48) from just €29.95 (US$ 33.41) a month;
- A stylish device that uses a modest amount of electricity.