A growing number of French scale-ups & unicorns are making their way to become global category leaders. The French government is supporting their development through a new program that reduces paperwork and increases their exposure to international investors.
It was a great summer for Contentsquare. The Paris-based startup, which works with global giants like Walmart, doubled its size in just one week. The digital analytics company indeed made two acquisitions (one in France and one in Israel), thus growing its staff from 300 to 600 employees. It now screens 9 trillion digital interactions every day and intends to become the global leader in UX analytics.
A significant number of French scale-ups like Contentsquare have switched into hypergrowth mode lately. La French Tech is massively hiring: 80,000 tech positions are looking for candidates, according to the French Ministry for the Economy.
A key challenge is to fund the late stage of their development. True, there has been improvement in this area: the annual number of roundtables above $50m has more than doubled in just two years. But the trend still has to accelerate. To help hypergrowth startups gain visibility towards international investors, the French government has just created the Next40 listing, which gathers the forty most promising French tech startups that have the potential to become global champions – seven of them already are unicorns.
Those 40 companies, as well as 80 other ones that are currently being selected (the final list will be announced in early 2020), will benefit from the “French Tech 120” program. That program intends to boost their development by providing them support from dedicated civil servants who will, among other things, facilitate their interactions with French administration, give them easier access to state-owned purchasers, increased visibility at international events like CES and support to European funding programs. The 120 startups will also have access to an official valuation service from Banque de France, the French central bank.
With that new program, the government hopes to support France-based entrepreneurs who participate in the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”. In the last months, it already announced tax cuts and a special fast-track visa for foreign talents. It has set a goal for La French Tech: more than 25 unicorns by 2025, including some that will be valued up to €15bn ($16.5bn). Hypergrowth startups like ContentSquare can keep dreaming.