June 7th 2018 marked the fifth edition of the annual French-American Business Awards (FABA), organized by the French-American Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco and held in the city. The FABAs are held in partnership with Leaders League and sponsors include Salesforce, Dentons and Air France. Over 300 attendees gathered to celebrate the very best French-American companies and figures and reward their involvement in business and in the local community.
Fifty nominees were selected in the following 11 categories:
Woman Role Model • Social Impact • Agribusiness • Food Business • High Tech over $30 million in revenue or funding • High Tech under $30 million in revenue or funding • Trends of 2018: Leaders in Smart Mobility • Giving Back Award • Startup of the Year • US Investment in France • Wine.
In the ‘Woman Role Model’ category, Fidji Simo took home the gold award; she is VP of Product for Facebook, in charge of the videos, games and advertising which appear within Facebook newsfeeds. Fidji was recently ranked as the 10th most influential French person in the world by Vanity Fair. A special distinction was also accorded in the same category to Odile Disch-Bhadkamkar, a higher-education finance executive and former CFO of Stanford Management Co.
The top prize for ‘Social Impact’ was won by Alter Eco, a top certified and one of the first registered public Benefit Corporations, which is working towards full-circle sustainability. A special mention must also go to Code For Fun, a non-profit organization offering computer science instruction to students across the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the ‘Food Business’ category congratulations go to gold award winners La Toque, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving up contemporary French cuisine at the Westin Verasa Napa hotel. The special distinction went to artisan oil producers La Tourangelle,Inc.
Oeneo, a global player in the wine industry, walked away with the top award for ‘Agribusiness’, they offer a variety of innovative solutions to winemakers throughout each stage of the winemaking process. Another wine-based firm, Laffort, was awarded the special distinction. They are an established Bordeaux-based winemaking products supplier who dedicate considerable funds to research and development in the industry.
Awards for ‘High Tech’ were split into two sub-categories; over and under $30 million in revenue or funding. In the former category a gold award was offered to internet and app search and discovery solution Algolia, while the special distinction went to Front, the first shared inbox platform designed to bring together all emails and customer communication. In the latter category, global data marketplace Dawex took home first place with a special distinction awarded to Hardware Club, an exclusive club for hardware startups that provides support on key issues.
Luc Vincent, the VP of Engineering for Lyft self-driving was the gold award-winner in the category ‘Leaders in Smart Mobility.’ He previously worked for Google, developing their Street View technology, and Xerox. The special distinction went to Gilbert Passin, VP of Manufacturing for Tesla Motors who has 23 years of international automotive experience, having worked for Toyota, Volvo, Mack and Renault in Europe and North America.
There were two winners in the ‘Startup of the Year’ category. InkSpace Imaging was the Jury’s choice; they have developed comfortable, patient-customized MRI coils which also improve performance. The People’s choice was Allure Systems, which is marketed at fashion retailers and offers high-quality on-figure images using virtualization and computer vision technologies.
The awards recognized two companies for their contribution to ‘US Investment in France.’ Gold award winners were Zendesk, a customer service and engagement platform which services businesses across a wide range of industries and in over 30 languages. Runner-up Symphony is a cloud-based messaging and collaboration platform designed to securely connect markets, organizations and individuals.
A third company from the wine industry to be honored, Atlas Wine Co. took home the gold award in the ‘Wine’ category. It is a Napa Valley-based quality wine producer.
The final category, the ‘Giving Back Award’, was this year awarded to Jean-Noël Fourmeaux. Fourmeaux is a veteran of the wine industry in Napa Valley and is also to be commended for his tremendous effort offering support to the community throughout the wildfires which ravaged the area in October 2017.
The FABA board would like to thank all those who attended and supported the event and they look forward to celebrating more success stories in the French-American community in years to come!