The tech startup ecosystem in France is witnessing a spectacular growth, thanks to the fresh pool of aspirational entrepreneurs and investors. This substantial growth has led to numerous fundraising rounds in the country that take these French tech startups to the next level even during the pandemic crisis. Over the past few months, even while France was one of the worst-hit markets due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the investments in tech startups did not cease.
Most valued tech startups in France
As per a report by Pitchbook, the most valued French tech startups have a joint value of over €6 billion. These companies operate across various industries including Artificial Intelligence, insurtech, and healthcare. Without further ado, here’s the list of most valued tech startups in France so far.
Founder/s: Francis Nappez, Nicolas Brusson, Frederic Mazzella
Founded year: 2006
Funding: €405 million
Paris-based BlaBlaCar is a long-distance ride-sharing network. The carpooling service lets users connect with drivers who have empty seats and book seats online. As it allows commuters to share the ride, the cost per person is relatively lower than travelling alone.
Recently, the French carpooling platform that recently joined hands with Voi Technology to help make scooters reliable and easily available across big cities in France. As this move was during the COVID-19 crisis, the company had to launch the BlaBlaRide service adhering to the local regulations and guidelines.
Back in November 2018, BlaBlaCar secured nearly €100 million later stage VC funding from Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français, Omnes Capital and Insight Partners, thereby reaching a valuation of €1.43 billion.
Founder/s: Jessy Bernal, Ivan Schneider, Stanislas Niox-Chateau
Founded year: 2013
Funding: €237 million
Doctolib is a French healthtech startup, which offers a software solution to doctors and hospitals. It is basically a doctor appointment booking app, which comes with an entire range of services that help refine and improve the efficiency of medical operations.
The subscription-based online medical appointment management service attained the unicorn status early in 2019 following the investment from General Atlantic, Bpifrance, Accel and others. Well, Doctolib secured €150 million funding, which increased its valuation to €1.13 billion.
Founders: Guillaume Lestrade, Thomas Rebaud
Founded year: 2016
Funding: €269 million
French AI startup Meero aims to simplify the work of the photographer. From providing revenues and market research to invoicing, post-production, and delivery, Meero takes care of all the complicated, time-consuming tasks that plague the industry. The firm collaborates with hundreds and thousands of photographers all over the world so that they can create images for global brands.
Last year, Meero announced a Series C funding round of nearly €205 million led by Eurazeo Growth and Amsterdam-based VC, Prime Ventures. With this, the valuation of the startup that revolutionised the world of professional photography skyrocketed to €891 million.
Founder/s: Steve Anavi, Alexandre Prot
Founded year: 2016
Funding: €136 million
Qonto is a neobank for freelancers and SMEs that provides great customer support, transparency, and connection to carry out day-to-day business management. Qonto provides all the necessary tools to master the finances of an organisation. It is designed to make to simple to manage all transfers, debits, card payments, and small details.
Earlier this year, Qonto secured a Series C investment of €104 million from Tencent, Valar Ventures, Alven and DST Global among others, which marks the largest VC round in the French fintech industry to date. With this investment the valuation of the French neobank goes up to €811 million.
Founder/s: Ludovic Le Moan, Christophe Fourtet
Founded year: 2010
Funding: €284 million
Sigfox works with a vision to connect every object in the physical world with the digital universe. It is a platform that provides wireless connectivity services for the IoT devices. The global network of Sigfox complements existing connectivity systems and paves the way for two-way, energy-efficient transmission of small quantities of data over long distances.
Back in 2017, Sigfox announced the closure of an undisclosed amount of funding from Khazanah Nasional Berhad to enhance its deployment in the Asian markets. This venture funding round took its valuation to €600 million.
Founder/s: Acher Criou, Emmanuel Freund, Asher Kagan, Stéphane Héliot
Founded year: 2015
Paris-based Blade is the developer of a dematerialised computer intended to offer cloud gaming servers required to play high-end games through any PC. The company’s servers are exploitable on any screen and offer access to a virtual high-end computer along with running thousands of virtual machines on server-grade Intel Xeon processors enabling users to get more power and reactivity.
Earlier this year, Blade, which revolutionises cloud computing, raised funding from LG Electronics. The amount that it raised remains undisclosed but it has secured a position among the most valued French tech startups with a valuation of €335 million.
Founder/s: Charles Gorintin, Jean-Charles Samuelian
Founded year: 2016
Funding: €125 million
Paris-based digital health insurance platform Alan offers hassle-free digital health insurance solutions to users with an excellent price-quality ratio health plan. This digital insurance platform makes coverage, claims, and reimbursements for both users and medical professionals. Alan also lets users access video calls and appointments.
A few months back, Alan secured €50 million Series C funding from Index Ventures and Temasek. With the latest investment, Alan’s valuation stands at €314 million and its total funding is €125 million.
Founder/s: Jean-Philippe COMBAL, Gloria Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza
Founded year: 2016
Funding: €84.3 million
Paris-based gene therapy biotech company Vivet Therapeutics is dedicated to developing treatments for liver disorders that have been inherited. The company uses its proprietary treatment for Wilson disease, which is a rare, devastating, chronic and potentially life-threatening liver disorder. This company is building a diversified gene therapy pipeline based on novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) technologies.
In March 2019, Vivet Therapeutics bagged €45 million investment from Pfizer to advance its pipeline of gene therapy programs. This takes the overall funding secured by the French biotech firm to nearly €84 million and its valuation is around €300 million.
Founder/s: David Durrleman, Eric Sibony, Jeremy Jawish
Founded year: 2014
Funding: €89.2 million
Shift Technology is a Paris-based startup providing AI-based fraud detection for the global insurance industry. It offers a fraud detection solution called FORCE, which is used by insurers all over the world across all business sectors. This French AI startup provides fraud handlers with a decision-making platform that will scale their capacity and give them more efficiency in claims processing.
Last year, Shift Technology secured €53 million Series C funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners along with participation from its existing investors such as General Catalyst, Accel and Iris Capital. With this, the valuation of the company is now €277 million.
Main image picture credits: BlaBlaCar
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As schools stay closed and summer camp seems more like a germscape than an escape, students are staying at home for the foreseeable future and have shifted learning to their living rooms. Now, Norwegian educational gaming company Kahoot — the popular platform with 1.3 billion active users and over 100 million games (most created by users themselves) — has raised a new round of funding of $ 28 million to keep up with demand.
The Oslo-based startup, which started to list some of its shares on Oslo’s Merkur Market in October 2019, raised the $ 28 million in a private placement, and said it also raised a further $ 62 million in secondary shares. The new equity investment included participation from Northzone, an existing backer of the startup, and CEO Eilert Hanoa. While it’s not a traditional privately held startup in the traditional sense, at the market close today, the company’s valuation was $ 1.39 billion (or 13.389 billion Norwegian krone).
Kahoot launched in 2013 and got its start and picked up most of its traction in the world of education through its use in schools, where teachers have leaned on it as a way to provide more engaging content to students to complement more traditional (and often drier) curriculum-based lessons. Alongside that, the company has developed a lucrative line of online training for enterprise users as well.
The global health pandemic has changed all of that for Kahoot, as it has for many other companies that built models based on classroom use. In the last few months, the company has boosted its content for home learning, finding an audience of users who are parents and employers looking for ways to keep students and employees more engaged.
The company says that in the last 12 months it had active users in 200 countries, with more than 50% of K-12 students using Kahoot in a school year in that footprint. On top of that, it is also used in some 87% of “top 500” universities around the world, and that 97% of Fortune 500 companies are also using it, although it doesn’t discuss what kind of penetration it has in that segment.
It seems that the coronavirus outbreak has not impacted business as much as it has in some sectors. According to the midyear report it released earlier this week, Q2 revenue is expected to be $ 9 million, 290% growth compared to last year and 40% growth compared to the previous quarter, and for the full year 2020, it expects revenue between $ 32 million and $ 38 million, with a full IPO expected for 2021.
As it has been doing even prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Kahoot has also continued to invest in inorganic growth to fuel its expansion. In March, it acquired math app maker DragonBox for $ 18 million in cash and shares. The company also runs an accelerator, Kahoot Ignite, to spur more development on its platform.
However, Hanoa said that Kahoot is shifting its focus to now also work with more mature edtech businesses.
“When we started out, we were primarily receiving requests on early stage products,” he said. “Now we have the opportunity to consider mature services for either integration or corporation. It’s a different focus.”