Greentech Startups: France Hits European Records In Fundraising
During Jour E event on the 5th of April, Bpifrance unveiled a study on the French Greentech ecosystem. Despite these startups remaining young, France ranks among the best countries in Europe in terms of fundraising, revealing a high growth potential.
In 2021, there was at least twice more French Greentech startups than in 2020, reaching 1,800 companies. This is one of the key numbers highlighted by the study released by Bpifrance earlier this year, at the occasion of Jour E, an event gathering entrepreneurs engaged in the ecological transition. The study reminds what the term “Greentech” covers: “a company offering an innovative solution that improves the environmental impact of businesses or end consumers and contributing significantly to at least one objective of the European taxonomy (climate change adaptation, protection of water resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and reduction, protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems”. In France, these companies stimulate the economy as 70% of them come from the whole country and not only Ile-de-France, the French capital region. They represent 60,000 direct jobs, 3 billion euros of revenues, and show a strong growth potential as half of them were founded less than 5 years ago.
Circular economy and proteins of the future among French Greentech startups’ priorities
Some sectors stand out among these 1,800 startups: half of them is dedicated to new energies including solutions oriented towards a greener industry. 260 of these Greentech are Deeptech, and 12% joined the selective club of La French Tech 120. Earlier in 2022, the French government even launched La French Tech Agri20 program to better highlight these green deeptech champions, especially those offering breakthrough innovations answering food and agricultural challenges.
Fundraising also gives quite interesting observations in the study, particularly in terms of the main concerns that investors seem to focus on. Circular economy thus appear to grab attention and is represented by some of the biggest green unicorns like Back Market or Vestiaire Collective. In new energies, decarbonated hydrogen represents an important segment. In the agri-food industry, proteins of the future seem to be the top priority for investors, with important companies such as Ynsect. Reshoring of batteries production in France is an important topic for sustainable mobility as well, while sustainable construction’s innovations targets energy efficiency in buildings. Finally, in the green industry sector, fundraising mostly goes to chemicals and materials, to finance industrialization phases.
A high growth potential supported by private and public actors
Not only Greentech startups are recent, but they also accounted for 16% of the total funds raised by French startups in 2021, promising an interesting growth potential. In terms of Greentech fundraisings, France follows Sweden, Germany, and United-Kingdom, but remains the country with highest number of fundraising between 2017 and 2021, cumulating 400 of them, despite a lower ticket than its European competitors: less than €10 million in average in France vs up to €60 million in Sweden, concentrated on a lower number of fundraising. France especially stands out in the new proteins field.
To further develop and grow, French Greentech startups can count on the support of many actors, either private or public, including Bpifrance and its communities such as La French Tech or Le Coq vert. If international investors represent 40% of fundraising, around forty French investors are active in financing Greentech among which the French public investment bank, with €100 million invested in fund of funds. Bpifrance reinforced its support in 2021 and more than 1,000 companies benefited from either financing, investment, or support through diagnostic and international expeditions, highly supported by the France 2030 plan.
French speakers, find this study on bpifrance.fr.