Portrait | Entrepreneurship / Innovation

They make the Université de Lyon: meet Emmanuel Fourault

On The May 10, 2019

The Université de Lyon met with Emmanuel Fourault, who founded the Cuir Marin de France company, and whose project was incubated as part of the Student Entrepreneur Diploma (D2E) in the Beelys PEPITE, the Université de Lyon’s center supporting young entrepreneurs.

Fish leather is chic!

Fish leather? This is not a new idea! We have records of stingray skins being tanned in eighth century Japan. But the idea has become more relevant than ever as more species are threatened with extinction and to optimize production... “In France, salmon production, for instance, generates 50,000 tons of fish skins, only 10% of which are used,” notes Emmanuel Fourault, founder of Cuir marin de France, along with Benjamin Malatrait and Gauthier Lefébure. “There is a massive available source of fish skin.”

For the 25-year-old chemistry and entrepreneurship graduate and his partners, who studied engineering and chemistry, finding a use for these fish skins was the obvious choice.

They practice green chemistry and natural tanning methods using molecules from tree barks. Their project environmentally friendly and targets the luxury market, since fish scales have a unique texture, not unlike snake skin.

Their manufacturing method was defined in 2016 and finalized after two years of research with the Centre technique du cuir, in Lyon.

Lyon is not the founders’ hometown, but they chose to move to Lyon to benefit from Beelys’ services. They won awards and raised funds: Pépite France, Concours Génération Développement Durable, Bourse French Tech, Réseau Entreprendre® Rhône… After a successful crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2018, they raised €100,000 and the company expects to generate a sales revenue of €100,000 this year, manufacturing primarily for watchmakers and small leather goods brands, etc. It aims to reach the million-euro milestone in the next three years.