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The criteria for the French Tech Next40/120 programme are changing!

Strategic development

To mark the 10th anniversary of French Tech, Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate for the Digital Economy, announced that the criteria for the French Tech Next40/120 programme would be revised to take greater account of changes in the start-up ecosystem.

What is French Tech Next40/120?

French Tech Next40/120 is the French Tech Mission programme which supports the 120 most successful French scale-ups with the potential to become international leaders. These companies receive support linked to their development challenges for one year, promoting them in France and internationally.

Since its creation in 2019, the programme has selected start-ups on the basis of their economic performance. To join the Next40 in 2023, start-ups had to either have unicorn status (at least €1 billion in value) or have raised more than €100 million in the previous 3 years. To qualify for the next stage of selection (French Tech 120), they had to have raised at least €40 million or achieved sales of at least €10 million and annualised growth of 25% over 3 years.

Changes proposed by French Tech Finance Partners to meet a threefold objective

The French Tech Finance Partners body was launched in January 2023 by Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Economy, to work on three priority areas: the financing of start-ups in the regions; the financing of DeepTech; and the selection criteria for French Tech programmes.

The selection criteria for the French Tech Next40/120 programme were reviewed by a dedicated working group made up of various players from the French Tech ecosystem, in order to put forward various proposals and adapt to changes in the world of tech and start-ups. These proposals have been reworked by the French Tech Mission to come up with new selection criteria.

These changes meet 3 objectives:

  • Better integrate the growing maturity of the French tech ecosystem, in particular its capacity to generate significant revenues

  • Balancing the selection of the Next40, expanding beyond unicorns and fund-raisings

  • Reinforce the impact commitments (ecological transition, parity, inclusion and diversity) required of companies

In concrete terms, what changes have been made to the selection criteria?

A change in the timetable

In order to take better account of revenues, the next selection will be based on sales generated in 2023. As a result, the selection timetable has been changed and the 2023 promotion has been extended until spring 2024.

The class of 2024/2025 will be announced in the summer of 2024.

Next40 criteria (top 40)

Selection will be made in descending order of each criterion.

20 places will be awarded to companies with the highest cumulative fundraising between June 2021 and June 2024.

20 places will be open to companies generating at least €100 million in net sales (excluding business volumes) and at least 15% annualised growth over 3 years.

Unicorns will no longer benefit from automatic admission and will therefore have to apply in the same way as all other companies.

French Tech 120 criteria (next 80 places)

Selection will be made in descending order of each criterion.

40 places will be awarded to the companies with the highest cumulative fundraising between June 2021 and June 2024.

40 places will be awarded to the companies with the highest net sales and at least 15% annualised growth.

The programme’s cross-cutting criteria

Constant generic criteria:

As has been the case since the programme was created, companies must have their head office in France and must not be listed on the stock exchange.

Reworked generic criteria:

The independence and innovation criteria have been strengthened. The regional criterion, which allowed at least 2 companies per region to be included, has been removed to allow greater flexibility according to the challenges faced by each region.

For the next selection round, the company’s creation date will be extended to January 1, 2004 (i.e. a maximum of 20 years in existence).

Greater impact criteria:

The professional equality index will have to present a score of at least 75 or present an action plan to improve it.

A carbon footprint (scope 1, 2 and 3) less than 3 years old must be included in the application.

The work begun in 2023 on diversity and inclusion issues (in particular the Parity Pact) will be continued in order to better engage the companies in the selection process on these issues.