Jean de La Rochebrochard and his team at Kima Ventures have topped a ranking of French VCs best able to spot billion-dollar businesses.
The list, compiled by data platform Dealroom, ranks VCs that have either invested early into startups that later become unicorns, or have portfolio companies valued at $250m-1bn and expected to attain the status.
It comes as startup valuations nosedive and some businesses that were unicorns, like UK events tech startup Hopin and Norwegian food delivery company Oda, drop below the $1bn benchmark.
But being a unicorn is still a sought after measure of success in France, as it is elsewhere. French president Emmanuel Macron has set the target of 100 unicorns in the country by 2030 — in 2022, it minted seven new $1bn businesses, joint-second in Europe.
Here are the top VCs with the best eye for a unicorn.
1/ Kima Ventures
Latest fund: Kima was founded to invest the fortune of French billionaire Xavier Niel, and describes itself as a business angel rather than a VC fund.
Focus: The firm, which is run by Jean de La Rochebrochard, backs up to 100 startups a year with €150k tickets at all stages and in all sectors.
Number of investments in the last 12 months: 112 global rounds, 95 in the EMEA region.
Latest fund: Partech announced a first close of €245m earlier this year for its fund dedicated to investments from seed to growth across Africa.
Focus: The investor has teams focusing on seed, venture and growth investments, in addition to its Africa-focused fund. It is a generalist firm that makes investments globally.
Number of investments in the past 12 months: 53 global rounds, 42 in the EMEA region.
Latest fund: In summer 2023, Eurazeo closed its second smart city fund at €400m.
Focus: Eurazeo is one of the largest investors in France, and its private equity branch spans a wide range of global investments across venture, growth and buyout.
Number of investments in the past 12 months: 26 global rounds, 22 in the EMEA region
Latest fund: In 2022, Alven announced a €350m close for its sixth-generation fund.
Focus: The investor backs startups in various sectors with tickets for seed to Series A, and is dedicated to European businesses as well as European founders in the US.
Number of investments in the past 12 months: 23 global rounds, 19 in the EMEA region
Notable investments: Qonto, Algolia, Stripe.
Latest fund: In late 2022, Iris announced a first close of €110m for its fourth early-stage fund, with a €150m target.
Focus: Iris is mostly active in Europe, with a historical focus on France and Germany. It makes venture and growth investments in a wide range of verticals including enterprise technology, industry 4.0, fintech, e-commerce and sustainability.
Number of investments: Four, all of them in the EMEA region.
6/ Sofinnova Partners
Latest fund: A €150m fund for early-stage biotech investments, raised in November 2021.
Focus: The firm invests from seed to later-stage with a focus on life sciences and sustainability. It backs founders globally.
Number of investments: 16 global rounds, 10 in the EMEA region.
Notable investments: Sitryx, Bon Vivant, CorWave.
Latest fund: Elaia closed its fourth-generation Digital Venture fund in March 2023 at €200m.
Focus: The fund invests up to €15m in rounds from seed to Series B, focusing on startups worldwide with a European and Israeli edge. It prioritises B2B businesses in deeptech and biotech.
Number of investments: 23 global rounds, all of them in the EMEA region.
Notable investments: Criteo, Mirakl, Shift Technology, Ornikar.
8/ Aglaé Ventures
Latest fund: Aglaé Ventures is the tech and VC branch of Financière Agache, which invests the fortune of French multi-billionaire and CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault.
Focus: The firm invests globally from seed to pre-IPO, with tickets ranging from €100k-10m. It is sector-agnostic but prioritises marketplaces, software, content platforms, consumer apps and digital-native brands (DNVBs).
Number of investments in the past 12 months: 22 global rounds, 11 in the EMEA region.
Notable investments: Airbnb, Algolia, BackMarket, Netflix, Slack, Spotify.
Latest fund: XAnge raised €220m in 2022 for its fourth early-stage fund.
Focus: The Franco-German VC typically invests between €1m-10m at pre-seed, seed and Series A, across a wide range of sectors. It focuses on France, Benelux and Germany.
Number of investments in the past 12 months: 15 global rounds, 14 in the EMEA region.
Notable investments: Lydia, Ledger, Odoo, Animaj.