Speedinvest Blog

French Tech Startups | A Look at Speedinvest's Portfolio in France

January 18, 2024

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Speedinvest

Since 2011, we've invested in more than 300 startups in more than 40 nations. Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Spain are currently the countries we've invested in most in Europe. Why and in what companies? Keep reading for a deep dive into our French portfolio and exclusive market insights from our sector-focused investors. Click below for a breakdown of our other top European markets.

Austria | Germany | Spain | United Kingdom

French Tech Startups: On A Mission

Paris is on a mission to become Europe’s largest startup ecosystem. The numbers show that they’re well on their way. The French startup ecosystem was valued at $89 billion in 2021 with $5 billion in total early-stage funding. In 2022, French tech startups raised a record €13.5 billion –– a 17 percent increase over the previous year. And according to Startup Genome, Paris’ greater metro area is home to approximately 12,000 startups. That’s more than both London and Berlin.

France itself impressed observers by continuing to grow its tech ecosystem in 2022, despite the general downturn. With 689 financing rounds raising €11.5 billion, France was the only European market to continue to grow in 2022. This happened despite the fact that foreign investment decreased from 2021 and that the average amount raised by French tech startups dropped roughly 70 percent.

Fortunately for us, we’ve been able to keep a close eye on French tech startups from our office in Paris. Since entering the market, we’ve already partnered with +20 French fintech startups. Looking across our French portfolio companies, 2 have raised Series A rounds, 2 Series B, and 1 Series C. In 2022 alone, we made eight investment rounds in French startups followed by five in 2023 –– and we have no plans to slow down.

That's why we've brought our sector-focus approach to France and are looking to capitalize on the wealth of innovation happening across the French startup ecosystem.

Our French Team

Our French investors span the spectrum of our sector-focused team. Our Partner Andreas Schwarzenbrunner is focused on Climate Tech & Industrial Tech investments in the French market. Estelle Botbol is a Senior Associate investing in Health & TechBio. Alexis Majos is also a Senior Associate, focusing on French fintech. Associate Audrey Handem concentrates on Saas & Infra startups. And last but not least, Maximilian Wilhelm is an Associate working with French Marketplaces & Consumer startups. Cedric Goffeau and Hugues Le Maire assist as hands-on strategic advisors for our France-based portfolio companies.

Speedinvest France Deal Flow

Our deal flow in France is growing considerably to the tune of 2,515 percent from 2017 to 2023.

Among those we see approximately 35 percent of our French deal flow coming from SaaS & Infra since 2017. Fintech, marketplaces, and industrial tech are right behind, each comprising approximately 16 percent of our French deal flow.

Pitches from French startups increased 2,515% between 2017 and 2021.
Pitches from French startups increased 2,515% between 2017 and 2023.

An Overview of our French Startups

With 20+ investments in the French startup ecosystem and many more we’ll announce shortly, there’s a lot we could talk about. From our office in Paris, we’re constantly scouring for additional opportunities for investment in France. No matter what the state of the market is, our cross-sector investment teams actively partner with founders building Deep Tech, Fintech, and Health & Tech Bio to Climate Tech & Industrial Tech, Marketplaces & Consumer, and SaaS & Infra startups.

Below, our investors dive deeper into our portfolio and explore the opportunities we see on the ground.

For the very latest list of publicly announced French investments, visit our portfolio page.

Pick a sesctor

Fintech

Finary

French fintech is a resilient industry. When the COVID-19 pandemic started to hit the economy in 2020, French fintech companies defied the trends and raised €828.2 million with 63 deals. That was an 18.9 percent increase from 2019, according to France Fintech––an industry trade group. 

Our fintech partnerships are among our most prolific among our portfolio of French tech startups. From Lemonway, which partnered with Societe Generale to offer payment services for large European corporates entering the B2B marketplace in 2023, to the likes of Finary and EXA Finance, we’ve long been invested (no pun intended) in France’s fintech ecosystem.

fIn 2022, we partnered with Rollee, a platform for employment data used by clients from fleet management to lending to ensure decisions are made with a fair, data-driven approach. Alongside our Climate & Industry team, we partnered with Finres –– a platform offering a ML-based decision-making solution to underwrite climate and price risks to reveal investment opportunities that support agricultural resilience. And we continued our investment streak in 2022 by partnering with Flowdesk (a $30 million Series A to boost their flagship product) and Drop (a $5.5 million seed round to help the company grow).

"France has historically been an innovative country with a great pool of talent for the financial industry. With a new generation of tech entrepreneurs and a favorable political landscape, we are seeing some of the most promising financial technology companies emerging in the region.” –– Alexis Majos, Associate at Speedinvest

SaaS & Infra

Flaneer : photos, vidéos, recrutement
Flaneer

Like our Fintech team, our SaaS & Infra investors have spent the last couple of years actively seizing the opportunity in France. Besides Apiday, a joint partnership with our Climate  Tech & Industrial Tech team detailed below, we’ve partnered with incredible startups, like  Qovery, , and . There’s also  Actiondesk whose platform allows automatic importing of data, pre-defined calculation and manipulation of that data, and eventually contingent data output or triggered actions. In November 2023, Datadog, an observability and security platform for cloud applications, acquired Actiondesk to improve access to commonly used spreadsheet syntax and to strengthen collaboration among engineering, product, marketing, and finance teams.

We partnered with Opal to help the startup grow their digital well-being tool that empowers users to develop better screen-time habits. With 200,000 downloads to date, Opal’s internal research shows that users save an average of two hours of screen time per day and 94 percent feel less distracted. 

June, a lightweight B2B SaaS product analytics tool, allows startups of any size to get actionable insights and custom-built reports in seconds, not hours. The fast-growing Paris startup won the prestigious Golden Kitty award for Data and Analytics in 2023. And Qovery, a Container as a Service platform for developers, simplifies the process of getting apps into production by pushing code from Github or GitLab and deploying it directly to AWS, Digital Ocean, or Scaleway instantly.

“SaaS & Infra are firmly embedded in the world of work, especially in the move towards remote working. The French ecosystem has always been home to highly skilled engineers, one of the perfect elements to help mark itself as a giant on the global startup map. In France, SaaS & Infra is verging on ‘must-have’ status and we are thrilled to be a part of the ecosystem.” –– Audrey Handem, Associate at Speedinvest

Health & TechBio

Five Lives

When looking at the European landscape, France has the second largest number of digital health startups founded in the last 10 years. To get there, the country had to overcome several challenges, such as a lack of investment in digital infrastructure and slow adoption of digital technology, both by the general public and by healthcare professionals. 

Today, the sector is flourishing with startups such as Doctolib, an online doctor appointment scheduling platform (raised $866 million) or Alan, a health insurance platform and one-stop shop improving price-quality ratio and user experience for patients (raised $560 million). In February 2022, the launch of MonEspaceSanté, a national digital health system that stores, monitors, and shares health data in complete security, marked a milestone in the adoption of digital health in France.

Our Health & TechBio team has seized this opportunity by partnering with incredible startups in the French ecosystem. The first French healthtech startup we were excited to back is Five Lives. The digital therapeutics startup has just launched a brain health mobile app allowing people to measure and reduce the risk of dementia through a personalized brain coach, and their research paper on 'Barriers to Brain Health Behaviors' was published in the Frontier Psychology Journal. Another example is Charles.co, an integrated digital clinic specialized in men’s health. With no topic too taboo, Charles is addressing chronic health issues in men, including sexual health, hair loss, and insomnia. Then there’s Orakl, a precision oncology startup that combines cell biology, engineering, and machine learning to build unique tumor avatars for each individual cancer patient that can mimic real-life responses to drugs. The startup won the prize for best innovation at Unicancer’s 2023 awards

“With an ambitious and pragmatic approach towards digital health, France managed to create a perfect soil for the growth of innovations. We are excited to be part of this ecosystem and to be the best partner for digital health entrepreneurs in France.”  –– Estelle Botbol, Senior Associate at SpeedInvest 

Marketplaces & Consumer

Lizee

Speaking of climate tech, our Marketplaces & Consumer team has also partnered with Paris-based Lizee. The company’s white label software and logistics solution allows sellers to offer their products for rental rather than for sale. Lizee came to the scene not a moment too soon thanks to an anti-waste French law that banned the destruction of clothing, cosmetics, electronics, and other items that have not been sold. 

We’ve also partnered with Simbel and Asap.Work––two startups operating in the field of employee development and the improvement of working conditions. France is historically a strong advocate for employee rights. With the introduction of a law which requires employers to train their employees, we believe that France will remain an interesting place for innovation in our daily work life.

France is also becoming a growing hub for startups tackling the circular economy, B2C and B2B Marketplaces, EdTech, eCommerce, and more. Simply put, there’s an abundance of opportunities in this space in France. 

“Being the home turf of many successful B2B and B2C marketplaces, such as BlaBlaCar, Vestiaire Collective, and SoRare, we believe that these great businesses will empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to build something themselves. We are ready and committed to be the best partner for French marketplace and consumer startups.” –– Max Wilhelm, Associate at Speedinvest

Deep Tech

mydatamodels-team
MyDataModels

In 2019, President Emmanuel Macron announced an initiative to fund 500 deep tech startups to the tune of €2.5 billion per year over five years starting in 2025. This is on top of the boom of deep tech startups focused on health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines made available in just a year’s time thanks in large part to deep tech. France is seizing Deep Tech as an opportunity to stand out as the world’s preeminent deep tech hub.

Suffice it to say we see significant potential here.

But it’s not just about what we see coming. It’s about what we’ve already seen. Our portfolio company MyDataModels is the developer of TADA, an analytics platform powered by artificial intelligence. They're working to make artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science available to everyone. 

“France has historically been a territory of scientific, technical, and engineering excellency. Today this knowledge not only continues to thrive in academic settings, but is also successfully being transferred into world-leading deep tech startups. We are so excited to see the French deep tech ecosystem thrive, and we will continue to support local innovators in their journey to commercialize some of the world’s most disruptive technology.” –– Emily Meads, Associate at Speedinvest

Climate Tech & Industrial Tech

According to our 2022 Industrial Tech Report, France is the second-largest industrial tech market in Europe –– just behind Germany. As of the report, French industrial tech received $827 million in funding for the year or $2.7 billion from 2015 to 2022.

On the climate side, we led Riverse’s pre-seed round. The Parisian company is catering to European GreenTechs operating in the fields of biogas, the reconditioning of CO2-intensive equipment, Biochar and/or Bio-based construction materials, all with the goal of providing them as frictionless-as-possible experience when trying to access the voluntary carbon markets.

Another exciting company we partnered with in this space is Asap.work who are building the first European digital workforce management platform for the construction industry. This represents one of the largest economic sectors in Europe accounting for 9 percent of the EU’s GDP and 18 million jobs. Construction companies have long suffered due to a lack of available workers. Asap solves this by connecting job seekers in the construction industry directly to employers with their worker-first platform that helps users find their next assignment in just a few clicks.

“Climate tech is the fastest-growing theme in France, doubling every year, specifically in the industrial tech sector such as new materials, chemicals, food and agriculture, and construction––riding on the success of incredible businesses, like Ynsect, Backmarket, and Vestiaire Collective. We are excited to bring relentless support to France’s most visionary founders who share our common goal of ensuring the future of industry is digital and decarbonized.” –– Namratha Kothapalli, Principal at Speedinvest


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