The full ranking of French tech startups to watch is published here.
French tech has long nipped at the heels of the UK and Germany — the two largest European tech ecosystems. 2021 showed France’s startups were truly a force to be reckoned with.
French startups welcomed $13.1bn in funding in 2021, 11.6% of the total for the continent. There were 28 $100m+ deals, and more than 1,350 new startups were formed.
But which companies will be the breakout successes of this year? We’ve ranked the promising startups that we think are the ones to watch in 2022 as French tech goes from strength to strength.
French tech in 2021
- $13bn in investment
- $34.6bn in exits
- $1.8bn in early equity rounds
The momentum has continued in 2022. The unicorn factory has been working overtime: Payfit, Ankorstore, Qonto, Exotec and Spendesk all hit the $1bn mark in January alone. That means France has broken the goal of 25 unicorns by 2025 set by President Emmanuel Macron in September 2019 three years early. And with $4.1bn in exits in the first two months of the year, France is on track to top its 2021 $34.6bn record.
At a sectoral level, healthtech startups have taken centre stage, followed by fintech, transportation and B2B software. Notably, more startups are capitalising on deeptech excellence, including quantum computing, robotics and biotech.
Our research identified the most active French investors since 2005: Bpifrance, Eurazeo, Kima Ventures, Partech and the European Innovation Council. Funds were injected mostly into Paris, but several other hubs are flourishing around the country.
Of our 2021 ranking, 8 startups had not yet reached the $1b mark: Alan, Manomano, Lydia, Back Market, Qonto, Ledger, Swile and Shift Technology have moved on to become unicorns since publication.
Check out the ranking here.
Our methodology includes several metrics, including founders' backgrounds, investors, financials and company-specific insights. While we prioritise younger startups, we set 2005 as the earliest founding year. We also took care to promote fair weightings for sectors and locations. If you think other startups should be included in the list, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ranking excludes early-stage startups (pre-seed, seed and angel), which we monitor for our Pro membership content and unicorns. For more research on the early stage startup world, check out our briefings here.
Federico Scolari is data intern reporter at Sifted.