France – Venture Capital Trends: 17 Unicorns


France, not always at the top of mind when it comes to innovative tech firms, is gaining traction when it comes to VC funding of innovative young firms. According to research by Avolta Partners, a boutique investment bank, there are now 17 unicorns in France.

The report states:

“If anyone still had lingering doubts about the French Tech’s ongoing success, Q2-21 is convincing proof of this. French startups have raised 2x more in Q2-21 (€3.2bn) than in Q1-21. In the first 6 months of 2021, they raised €4.6bn, which is almost identical to the 2020 full year figure (€5.4bn).”

Avolta notes that startup-friendly legislation is helping and France has become “more attractive for high profile investors.” Additionally, building a €1 billion startup in France “is no longer a delusional dream.”

Overall, during the first 6 months of 2021, €4.6 billion in venture capital was raised for French tech firms. Fintechs are helping drive interest and economic activity like Ledger, the digital wallet provider, or Shift and Alan – both Insurtechs.

Of the seventeen French unicorns, the majority joined the herd in 2021. These include:

  • Backmarket
  • ContentSquare
  • BlaBlaCar
  • Alan
  • Mirakl
  • Ledger
  • deezer
  • Voodoo
  • iad
  • Doctolib
  • OVH
  • ivalua
  • aircall
  • Veepee
  • meero
  • Vestiare Collectie
  • Shift

The top funding rounds in Q2 2021 included three Fintechs: Ledger, Alan, and Shift.

There have also been a fair number of exits. Avolta reports there were 79 individual exits, either by a public listing or acquisition, for a total of €3 billion during Q2.

So can France keep up the pace? If French policymakers encourage risk-taking entrepreneurs while enacting pro-business legislation, absolutely.


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