France is one of Europe’s top tech hubs, and was the only major European startup ecosystem to raise more money in 2022 than it did in the year before. The French government is also on a mission to become the dominant tech force on the continent — €54bn has been planned for France 2030, a state initiative aimed at accelerating environmental technologies, and Bpifrance, the French public sector investment bank, has poured €7.2bn into tech startups since 2016.
With the fresh cash sloshing around the French tech ecosystem, some of the country’s startups have been on a hiring bend in the last year. Using data from Dealroom, Sifted has compiled a list of the 15 fastest-growing French startups based on headcount growth. Dealroom updates its data quarterly, so the growth rate is measured Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. To avoid the results being skewed by small businesses making lots of hires, we only looked at companies founded after 2005 that have raised $50m or more.
Meet the fastest-growing French startups
Clone (formerly Not So Dark)
Clone designs menus that existing restaurants can cook from for food delivery platforms, while still running their existing kitchen as normal. They offer the food under brands created by Clone, and the platform aims to generate additional revenue for restaurants during quieter times in the kitchen.
Team growth last 12 months: 411% to 312 employees
Last raised: $80m Series B, September 2022
Total funding: $102m
Electra provides ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). It partners with landlords of shopping centres, hotels and supermarkets to improve the convenience of charging. It's already established 260 charging stations across France and Belgium, and plans to deploy 8,000 charging stations by 2030 across the rest of Europe, according to the company.
Founded: January 2021
Team growth last 12 months: 190% to 168 employees
Last raised: €160m Series A, June 2022
Total funding: €177m
Verkor, the second EV-focused startup on the list, is developing lithium-ion batteries for EVs and energy storage and is currently building a gigafactory in Dunkirk, in the north of France. Sifted recently reported that it is set to close €800m in Series C funding, plus €1.2bn in debt.
Team growth last 12 months: 136% to 257 employees
Last raised: €100m Series B, July 2021; €250m growth equity, November 2022
Total funding: €352.6m
Cofounded by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Alain Aspect, Pasqal’s quantum computing technology has achieved parity with classical computers — a world first in the field. Pasqal has been backed by the likes of Temasak, Bpifrance, the European Innovation Fund and Daphni.
Team growth last 12 months: 116% to 173 employees
Last raised: €100m Series B, January 2023
Total funding: €128.2m
Paris-based mobile games publisher, Homa Games, provides independent game developers with expertise in game design, monetisation strategies and advertising campaigns. Its all-in-one publishing tool has been backed by investors such as Spotify founder Daniel Ek’s family office, Eurazeo and Northzone.
Team growth last 12 months: 113% to 313 employees
Last raised: $100m Series B, October 2022
Total funding: $164m
Deepki is developing a SaaS platform that collects and aggregates data on ESG metrics to help real estate industry players improve the sustainability of their assets.
Team growth last 12 months: 101% to 349 employees
Last raised: €150m Series C, March 2022
Total funding: €161m
Pigment is a SaaS fintech that provides real-time data for business forecasting, budget planning and revenue forecasting.
Team growth last 12 months: 99% to 270 employees
Last raised: €80m Series C, May 2023
Total funding: $244m
Agronutris is a biotech company that specialises in growing and rearing insects to produce proteins, typically for pets and aquatic animals. In 2021 it became the first producer authorised to sell insects as human food in the EU.
Team growth last 12 months: 97% to 65 employees
Last raised: €50m Series A, €8m grant and €40m in lending capital, October 2021
Total funding: €58.40m
Sweep is Europe’s best funded carbon accounting platform with $100m in funding ($83m ahead of the second-most funded). Its platform allows companies and their suppliers to input their environmental metrics then produces a map of their emissions showing where improvements can be made.
Team growth last 12 months: 96% to 100 employees
Last raised: $73m Series B, April 2022
Total funding: $100m
Kpler is a data and analytics firm specialising in commodity markets, aiming to make trade more sustainable and efficient.
Team growth last 12 months: 84% to 398 employees
Last raised: $220m growth equity, April 2022
Total funding: $220m
Nfinite is building AI-based 3D visualisation software for e-commerce brands to create 3D images of products. Its $100m Series B round in June 2022 was led by Insight Partners.
Team growth last 12 months: 83% to 318 employees
Last raised: $100m Series B, June 2022
Total funding: $115m
Driveco provides EV charging points, the second-largest public charging network in France. It raised €250m in growth equity in May 2023, the highest to date in the country’s EV charging sector.
Team growth last 12 months: 81% to 105 employees
Last raised: €250m growth equity, May 2023
Total funding: €253m
Warehouse robotics startup, Exotec, became France’s first industrial unicorn in 2022, and since then, its team has grown by 75%. In January 2022 it raised $335 in Series D led by Goldman Sachs — the largest funding round in the robotics sector that year.
Team growth last 12 months: 75% to 599 employees
Last raised: $335m Series D, January 2022
Total funding: $463m
FairMoney is a platform focused on emerging markets that is helping people access instant loans within five minutes.
Team growth last 12 months: 75% to 630 employees
Last raised: $42m in Series B, July 2021
Total funding: $54m
French spacetech Exotrail makes small satellite propulsion systems for deployment and movement around space. It also provides analysis and operating software aimed at optimising satellite performance, and is working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Team growth last 12 months: 74% to 113 employees
Last raised: $58m Series B, February 2023
Total funding: $74.3m