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What is the French Tech ecosystem?

The French Tech ecosystem refers to all French start-ups and a dynamic group of players and initiatives that promote the growth of start-ups by supporting their creation, financing and marketing.

The definition of a start-up

A technology start-up is an innovative young company that develops a technological solution to create new uses, services or products with the ambition of strong growth. French Tech start-ups are active in all markets, including the digital sector (marketplace, FinTech, software, etc.), DeepTech (quantum, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, etc.), healthcare (BioTech, innovative devices, etc.) and the ecological transition (electric batteries, biofuels, etc.). They can be purely digital or industrial, and often call on venture capital to finance their research and development, industrial set-up or growth.

The difference between start-ups, scale-ups, unicorns and centaurs lies in their stage of development and valuation:

  • Start-up: a start-up is a young company in its early stages of development. It generally seeks funding to develop its product or service.

  • Scale-up: a scale-up is a start-up that has reached a certain level of maturity, with substantial revenues and a strong international dimension.

  • Unicorn: the term “unicorn” refers to a start-up that has achieved a valuation of at least one billion dollars.

  • Centaur: the term “centaur” refers to a start-up that generates recurring annual revenues in excess of 100 million dollars.

The strength of the French tech ecosystem, in France and abroad

The French Tech Mission, the public body responsible for supporting the development of French start-ups, was set up in 2013 to catalyse government support for the French tech ecosystem.

Since 2017, the ecosystem has experienced dazzling growth, placing it among the most dynamic ecosystems on the planet in 2021, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation. In 2022, French technology companies raised €13.5 billion, putting them in first place in the European Union (according to the 2022 EY report).

This success has given the French technology sector a high profile and international profile, particularly among foreign investors. 

13,5 billon euros

will be raised by French start-ups in 2022, an increase of 15% compared with 2021.

1,1 million jobs

direct and indirect, are created by all French start-ups, in France and abroad.

1st in the European Union

in terms of start-up fundraising. France ranks 2nd in Europe, just behind the UK.

11th in the world

among the world’s most innovative countries, according to the Global Innovation Index, published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

To consolidate this ecosystem and make it stronger every day, start-ups are supported by a wide range of players:

  • Incubators and accelerators: these organisations offer support to young start-ups by providing coaching, mentoring, management advice, technical resources and funding opportunities.

  • Investors: these play a crucial role in providing funding for start-ups to develop their research and development, industrial set-up or growth. This can include business angels, venture capital funds and investment funds.

  • Large companies and institutions: they can collaborate with start-ups as customers, business partners or suppliers of resources and knowledge.

  • Government agencies: they support the French Tech ecosystem through funding programmes, tax incentives and innovation-friendly policies.

  • Universities and research centres: they contribute to the ecosystem by developing new technologies and facilitating the transfer of knowledge to the private sector.

The French Tech ecosystem is a real community of innovators, investors, associations and support structures joining forces with a shared ambition: to make France a world leader in technology and innovation to meet the major challenges facing our society.

Clara Chappaz

French Tech Mission

What do the leaders of French start-ups expect from the next decade?

To mark French Tech’s 10th anniversary Week, a survey was conducted in conjunction with CSA (Consumer Science & Analytics) among more than 200 start-up CEOs to find out what their ambitions are for the next 10 years.

Discover the survey