This blog is part of Speedinvest’s data-driven blog series Digital Health in Europe: A Data-Driven Blog Series by Speedinvest. While we previously outlined our methodology and our full analysis of 600+ Digital Health startups founded in Europe in the last decade, this blog post aims to shed light more specifically on the French Digital Health landscape.
In our previous blog article that took a macro perspective on Europe, we highlighted the fact that France is the second-largest single national market in Europe in terms of the number of Digital Health startups founded between 2010 and 2020.
81 startups have been founded since 2010, with a peak in 2016 and 2017. The French Tech 120 is also a significant example of the weight of the health industry in the French tech ecosystem, with 22 health startups out of 83 in the ranking.
Meanwhile, on the investment side, a rising trend has been observed according to France Biotech’s 2019 report (French). In 2019, HealthTech (including biotech and medtech) raised €1.8 billion in France, including 60% from venture capital, accounting for an increase of 79% when compared to 2018. This trend has been confirmed through our data.
The aim of this blog post is neither to be exhaustive nor to rank startups, but rather to describe the main characteristics of the French Digital Health ecosystem. We used the categories described in our methodology blog and adapted them to France wherever we felt this was a better fit.
If your company is not on the map and you’d like to be included, please fill in this form and we’ll add you!
One of the strongest fields in French Digital Health is software for screening and diagnostics, which falls into two large buckets.
One bucket is radiology analytics, which includes companies like Avicenna (emergency pathologies), AZmed (fractures), Incepto or Therapixel (AI for medical imaging), Pixyl (brain scans) and Gleamer (recently raised €10m to improve workflows). Still in the imaging field, ImVitro applies AI to IVF imaging needs.
The second is general diagnostics enablers. In this category, BioSerenity has raised €83m to date for telemedically-enhanced diagnostics for chronic pathologies. Cardiologs has also raised €21m for AI-based heart condition diagnostics. Younger players include Omini (portable blood testing devices), LAB2U (enables patients to do at-home blood tests) and Primaa (AI for histological diagnoses).
This category includes companies that give health providers horizontal tools they need to facilitate communication, data exchange and efficiency gains. French startups have focused on three broad areas:
Provider connectivity is a big unsolved challenge in health that has attracted a number of strong French tech companies. These include Ambler, who connect health care prescribers with ambulance companies, and Lifen, who have raised €28m to facilitate medical document exchange.
Resource optimization is another challenge for providers. Startups that are active in this space in France include DeepOR (operating theater utilization and monitoring), Hublo (platform to manage staff replacements and recruitment), and Sancare (revenue coding solution and predictive analytics for hospitals).
Medical knowledge is hard to pass on, so a number of startups have tackled training and education for medical professionals. Invivox has raised €4m to connect doctors for in-situ (inside the operating room) medical training. Synapse Medicine has raised €10m to give providers insights on medication, similar to AI-based medication insights tool Posos.
Patient engagement solutions connect providers with patients to increase convenience, access and continuity of care.
Booking and medical video conferencing platforms are the fastest-growing field in France in this category, driven by French Digital Health unicorn Doctolib. It has raised €237m to date from Europe’s best growth funds to build its category-defining online and mobile booking platform. Several other players are also tackling this space, including Keldoc (exited to Mutuelle Nationale Hospitalière in 2015), and Leah Care, a teleconsultation tool for doctors and clinics.
Patient engagement solutions help close gaps in patient-provider communication. Some generalist French players in this space are BOTdesign, a waiting room and communication platform, and Intelligence Anesthesia, a solution for pre-surgical evaluations.
Several players also provide more specialized solutions, such as Dental Monitoring, which has raised €50m since launching a remote monitoring solution for dentists. Other players focus on important remote monitoring niches, such as Cureety and Vik (cancer and chronic patients), Implicity (monitoring cardiac implants), and Neuradom (home support for people with neurodegenerative diseases).
Generalist telemedicine has been a popular category with investors across Europe, including in France. This category includes telemedical operators like Concilio, Medaviz, MesDocteurs (exited to Groupe VYV in 2017), Qare (raised €28m to date), and Urgence Docteurs as well as more niche specialist services like Oosteo, a telemedical platform for osteopaths.
Software for biotech and life sciences is a huge sub-vertical in Digital Health, and France has produced a number of strong startups in this space.
Drug discovery software is the key category. Leading the pack in this space is Owkin, which has raised €74m to connect researchers with federated data sets across the globe. Other companies tackling the drug discovery space are Aqemia, Epigene Labs, BioMathematica, Inoviem Scientific or KeenEye, which has raised €7.5m to apply AI to pathological imaging for research purposes.
Startups have also focused on different aspects of the pharma universe, such as ExactCure (software to reduce medication errors), Inova (platform for biopharma partnerships), Meditect (supply chain safety for emerging markets), and Inato (AI-powered patient recruitment for clinical trials), which has raised €14m since launch.
Digital therapeutics, or DTx, are clinical tools to help patients manage their own care, with minimal or no professional support, across a range of therapy areas.
Key startups to watch in this space are Diabeloop, which has raised €45m to help people with Type 1 diabetes manage their condition, and Lucine, a DTx for chronic pain that raised €5.5m in November 2020. Other players include Kwit, an smoking cessation app, and Open Mind Neurotechnologies, which helps employees manage stress and mental health at work.
This category includes companies that provide solutions that aim to make it easier and quicker for parents to access healthcare, whether it is designed for their own health or for their children. French startups have focused on three broad areas:
Fertility has been well funded lately, especially in the UK or the US. In France, it still seems to be a nascent space with two startups emerging. These are Apricity (raised €6m), a virtual fertility clinic that uses AI to improve chances of conception, and Mojo (raised €1.7m), which is developing AI and robotics-based solutions for fertility care.
Women-dedicated startups have also been quite well funded in the past years, even though some areas of women’s lifecycle are still being overlooked. Jho (raised €2.7m to date) tackles the menstrual cycle by providing women with organic cotton tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners.
This category includes companies that provide data and insights to employers, as well as those who provide services directly to employees.
Inside the office, Ignilife (raised €1.4m) provides employers with a SaaS platform to create a wellness culture among employees, and Padoa (raised €25m to date) is developing a tool for monitoring the health of employees at work.
Outside the office, Gymlib (raised €14m to date) provides subscription-based access to fitness spaces to employees.
This category includes direct-to-consumer products, like Epycure, which provides subscription-based food supplements. It also includes B2C apps that help people eat healthy, like Foodvisor (raised €5m to date), which analyzes nutrients in any food item.
Companies in this category mainly focus on providing solutions for families and caregivers to support elderly people, especially those taking advantage of in-home care. Lili smart, Ouihelp (raised €3.3m to date) and Unaide embody this value proposition with their tech solutions very well.
We started our series on Digital Health in Europe because, to date, there has been way too little coverage of this exciting sector in Europe. As one of the first to do this for France, we probably missed some great companies. If your company is not on the map and you’d like to be included, please fill in this form and we’ll add you!
Authored by Shiraz Mahfoudhi, a member of the Speedinvest SaaS & Health team, with contributions from Felix Faltin. The face of software is changing rapidly, and this shift is what the team is looking for: consumer subscriptions designed around emerging, everyday needs; SaaS that looks and feels like the consumer tech we can’t live without; Digital Health applications that redefine the relationship between patients and doctors. Their experience, network and grit can get founders where they want to be.
Sign-up to get the latest Speedinvest news, insights and resources right in your inbox.