Over 100 French startups, VCs and research institutes have come together to create a new organisation that will push the interests of the deeptech sector with the French government and EU legislators.
Dubbed “France Deeptech”, the group includes high-profile companies such as quantum computing startups PASQAL and Alice & Bob, spacetech The Exploration Company and cybersecurity platform TEHTRIS.
A number of French deeptech VCs and research labs have also joined alongside public bank Bpifrance. The organisation says it hopes to eventually open membership to startups and VCs in other European countries to strengthen its influence at the EU level.
A new lobby group for deeptechs
Coordinating between different actors in the deeptech sector, France Deeptech will propose new measures to European and French policymakers to support deeptech startups.
It will work hand in hand with France Digitale, a well-established lobby group that represents European startups and VCs.
France Deeptech has outlined four key challenges facing the sector and has created working groups made up of entrepreneurs, VCs and academics to come up with measures that could resolve them.
The key challenges are:
- Better access to funding for French deeptech startups, which the organisation estimates will need to raise €12bn between 2024 and 2026
- Creating bridges between academic research and industry
- Relaxing regulations that are putting brakes on startups developing foodtech such as alternative proteins or cultivated meat
- Increasing startups’ role in public procurement
The groups will work collaboratively with the French government and have been tasked with coming up with three policy proposals for each theme in the next six months.
France Deeptech will also organise meetups, particularly between startups and large industrial groups, and will carry out data-driven analysis to identify pain points and priorities in the sector that require government support.
Participants pay a membership fee and although the organisation declined to confirm its total budget, it says that it is planning to recruit three staff members.
Supporting the deeptech sector
While most European startups struggle to secure funding, European deeptechs have fared particularly well this year.
According to data from VC Atomico, more than $20bn will have been invested in deeptech companies in Europe by the end of the year — slightly more than in 2022.
Importantly, the capital invested in deeptechs in 2023 represented 44% of the total capital invested in European startups. That’s more than double the share of capital invested in 2022, showing that unlike other sectors, deeptechs continue to attract VC interest even as money becomes scarcer.
Despite this, France Deeptech says that startups in the sector can find it challenging to raise funding for a number of reasons — including high R&D costs, longer development cycles, the need for large manufacturing capabilities and potential regulations in sensitive industries like defence.
“These specificities are a source of complexity and require support — financial as much as strategic — from VCs and other specialised and experienced partners,” says Michel de Lempdes, managing partner at French VC Omnes Capital and president of France Deeptech.