Who has the most potential to become Europe’s next unicorn?
Paris startups campus Station F has just picked out 40 names including startups like Outmind and Interstellar Lab from its pool of 1,200 residents — and its choices say a lot about the broader trends in France and Europe’s startups ecosystems.
A majority of the companies among those Station F selected are business to business startups that help other companies accelerate the shift to digital — something particularly pressing during Covid-19. 70% of the startups on the list operate software as a service models.
“There’s a big block of startups dedicated to simplifying and accelerating digitalization,” Marwan Elfitesse, Station F’s head of startup programs tells Sifted in an interview. “That makes sense given the European startup ecosystem is very much geared towards business-to-business models, and that market is huge in France.”
Among the startups on the list is Uptale, which lets companies use augmented reality to train employees; Phacil, which has digital services geared towards pharmacies; and Mercateam, which makes software for managing staff in factories.
“Entrepreneurship isn’t always about remaking the entire world. There’s room to make an impact in other ways,” says Elfitesse. “A lot of startups are building on trends that were already on the rise last year and that have accelerated since, including in the context of Covid.”
This is Station F’s second year highlighting 40 startups, under the banner “Future 40”.
Among last year’s selection, startups like Stonly and Okarito both completed multi-million-euro fundraising rounds. QantEv, a deeptech startup that makes data management software for insurance companies, raised €1.5m this month from investors including Elaia Partners.
All of the companies selected this year are still in the early stages: they were set up less than two years ago and have raised less than €1m. And all of them are hiring — they’ve got seven people already on average, and are aiming for 12 by year-end — and 70% generate recurring revenue.
More than a third have female founders, which is roughly the proportion of female residents at Station F overall.
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One notable exception to all the companies on the list selling enterprise software is Interstellar Lab, a company with the wild idea of building a prototype Mars settlement in California to research living on the red planet. Tourists will also be able to go for around $6,000 a week.
Two of the companies — Fibrainy and Chez Vos Producteurs — also came from the Station F's "Fighters program", which is for entrepreneurs coming from underprivileged backgrounds.
The full list of companies is here:
- Interstallar Lab
- My Digital Buildings
- Hello My Bot
- Chez Vos Producteurs
- Healthy Mind
- Orion Semantics
- Plantik Biosciences