French Tech: 2022, a record year for fundraising in a difficult context


French start-ups raised 13.5 billion euros in 2022.

© Getty — Aurelien Meunier

2022 will remain the year of maturity for French Tech. Accustomed to breaking all records for several years, the French technological ecosystem had no choice but to turn its back last year because of the economic crisis, which severely restricted the cash tap that was flowing. afloat so far.

Thus, after a month of January marked by mega-fundraising (486 million euros for Qonto, 450 million euros with Back Market, etc.), large-scale operations subsequently became rare. Admittedly, Doctolib has succeeded in closing a round of funding of 500 million euros, combining equity and debt, to become the highest valued French unicorn (5.1 billion euros), and Alan raised 183 million euros. However, the rate of fundraising fell sharply and valuations were revised downwards, after several years of euphoria during which certain excesses had been observed.

A more complicated second half

Nevertheless, the difficult economic context, between shortage of electronic components and galloping inflation, did not prevent French Tech from beating a new record in 2022, with 13.5 billion euros raised by French start-ups during the past year, i.e. 17% more than in 2021 (11.6 billion), according to the EY venture capital barometer in France. Last year, investments were mainly driven by internet services (-24% in 2022) and software (+36%), two sectors which each received nearly 3 billion euros in financing. Fintech, with 2.3 billion euros raised (+7%), closes the podium. As for the strongest progression, it is to be put to the credit of cleantech, with a spectacular increase of 172% in investments for 2.1 billion euros raised.

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French Tech

Amounts raised by French start-ups since 2017.

© EY

This new record year for the ecosystem was mainly built during the first half, concluded with 8.4 billion euros raised by the young French shoots, an amount up 63% compared to the same period in 2021 and mainly driven by the increase in fundraising above 100 million euros. The second part of the year proved to be much more difficult to negotiate for the ecosystem, with barely 5.1 billion euros raised, or 3.3 billion less than in the first half. Over the year as a whole, EY noted a 6% drop in volume. In total, there were 735 fundraisers in French Tech in 2022, compared to 784 in 2021.

The government shows its ambitions for French Tech

A sign that the past year has been more difficult than the 2021 financial year, the ecosystem has only seen the emergence of eight new unicorns in 2022 (Qonto, PayFit, Spendesk, Ankorstore, etc.), including seven during the only first half, against 12 a year earlier. France now has 27 technology companies valued at more than $1 billion. The symbolic bar of 25 unicorns having been crossed, the executive has set new ambitious objectives for French Tech. At VivaTech, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, had thus set the objective of 100 French unicorns by 2030, including 25 “green” as part of the ecological transition. Also during the Paris tech fair, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, had expressed the wish to see 10 start-ups valued at more than 10 billion dollars in 2030, including five from 2025.

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A few months later, Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate for Digital, had pushed the cursor a notch further by hoping that the tricolor ecosystem would send 10 unicorns to the Paris Stock Exchange by 2025, including two valued at least 5 billion. euros. Going from the Next 40, the index of the most promising start-ups, to the CAC 40 is the next major challenge that awaits French Tech for the next few years. A huge challenge for France, while some promising companies give in to the sirens of Wall Street.

Geographically, start-ups based in Île-de-France captured 74% of investments and 64% of operations, far ahead of Hauts-de-France (7% of investments in value and 4% in volume) , and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region (6% in value and 11% in volume). On a European scale, France is back ahead of Germany, which has seen the funds raised by its start-ups fall by 38% to 10 billion euros, against 16.2 billion in 2021. On the other hand , the United Kingdom remains untouchable with 27.5 billion euros of investments last year, despite a decline of 14% in volume. 14 billion euros is therefore what still separates French Tech from the British ecosystem, more than double the funds raised by French start-ups in 2022.

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