The mix of international talent and governmental entrepreneurship initiatives seems to pay off and France’s startup scene is on the rise. Venture capital investments in French startups kept on growing even despite the ongoing pandemic. In September 2019 president Emmanuel Macron announced a €5 billion public-private investment fund, aimed at helping young companies to scale up. When the pandemic forced many businesses to a halt in March 2020, the French government ramped up support, earmarking €7 billion of the €100 billion stimulus package to the digital economy. Of these, €3.7 billion are getting injected into reinforcing startup financing.
In the beginning of this year, we took a close look at the French startup ecosystem to introduced you to 10 exceptionally promising French startups that were founded between 2018 and 2020. Here they are:
Outsight: Founded in 2019, Outsight develops an innovative sensor combined with a 3D Semantic Camera that brings ‘Full Situation Awareness’ to smart machines. Their sensor combines software and hardware to create sensor innovations such as remote material identification with comprehensive real-time 3D data processing. This technology provides an unprecedented and cost-efficient ability for systems to perceive, understand and ultimately interact with their surroundings in real time. Outsight’s 3D Semantic Cameras are providing new solutions for smarter cities and automotive safety. So far, the Paris-based startup secured about €18 million in VC funding.
Typology is a radical new skincare brand, founded in 2019 in Paris by Ning Li, who previously co-founded and led Made.com. For too long, the world of skincare had been defined by exaggerated promises and suspect chemicals. After gathering a team of health and skincare experts, Ning set out to challenge the industry. The Typology team went back to the basics and took an autonomous approach. The startups built an online-only, direct to customer model, which means Typology is selling premium products with the highest quality ingredients at a great price. Until today, the French startup has raised about €8.2 million in seed funding.
Iziwork: Founded in 2018, this Paris-based HR startup offers a digital alternative to temporary employment agencies. Their worker-centric temporary staffing marketplace improves the way workers access and experience temporary work. Using artificial intelligence and an e-commerce recommendation system, the platform matches temporary workers with the mission provided by clients, in just a few clicks. The result is that 95% of positions are filled in less than 4 hours. The fast-growing French startup already secured about €22.3 million in funding from investors like Cathay Innovation and Global Founders Capital.
Leavy: Founded by Aziza Chaouachi, Yassine Ben Romdhane and Mario Moinet in 2018, Leavy.co is an innovative travel community and marketplace, making travel affordable, everyday. The startup aims to reinvent the way people pay for travel and hospitality through a new community platform that allows its members to begin their getaway with 100% guaranteed cash, by sharing their space with visiting members, or by taking care of the homes listed and showing their city to guests. The all-in-one Leavy app, dedicated to reward its community in travel credit, can be used as a discount to purchase flights, accommodation or local experiences. Leavy has offices in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Rome, and Lisbon, and raised about $19 million so far.
WeLink: Founded in 2018, WeLink’s sales technology allows thousands of professionals boost their brand’s online visibility and increase their client portfolio. The Paris-based startup aims to ensure your business the best online presence possible. For that reason, WeLink is developing functionalities to help companies be listed on all relevant networks. Lead management and customer relation innovations are regularly integrated into the WeLink platform. For your business this could mean qualified leads with 50% of the conversion rate observed and more than 25% increase in turnover in less than a year. So far, WeLink raised about €5.7 million from OneRagtime and Takara Capital.
Pennylane: Paris-based Pennylane is both a software-as-a-service company that helps you deal with your financial data and an accounting firm. By working with accountants directly, it means that you can talk with your accountant through the company’s platform. It becomes a single source of information for financial data. Founded in 2020, the startup aims to improve the experience for both its clients and its accountants. So far, Pennylane is purely focusing on the French market. In total, Pennylane has already raised €19 million in funding from some renown VC firms like Global Founders Capital and Partech.
Pigment: Founded in 2019, Pigment is trying to overhaul the painful experience of using error-prone spreadsheets and inflexible software to forecast the future of businesses. Instead of a rigid annual planning process, Pigment’s platform allows users to take control over their business data – presenting an intuitive, full-spectrum view of the company that allows users to play with multiple future scenarios in real-time through charts, simulations, and continuous modeling. The B2B SaaS startup is headquartered in Paris and has secured €21.3 in funding till date.
Swile is a French fintech startup that offers digital solutions for employee rewards and benefits through a custom card and app. Launched in 2018 by Loïc Soubeyrand (who previously co-founded Teads) under the name Lunchr, Swile has now already raised over €115 million in venture capital. The Paris-based startup has declared war on the outdated French paper meal voucher market by providing a range of digital solutions, but it now plans to extend beyond its “e-meal vouchers” and lunch break experiences, and to expand internationally.
Qwarry: Founded in 2019, Qwarry is a cutting-edge semantic marketing platform. While the digital industry is facing many challenges, the advertising ecosystem is ready for a change. The Paris-based startup Qwarry is working on innovative technology to bring brands, agencies and publishers together around a 100% cookieless and consentless approach. Qwarry lets you switch to semantic data right now to level up your media campaigns and ad inventories. In the beginning of 2020, Qwarry raised €2 million in venture capital.
Joko: The French startup Joko is revolutionizing loyalty cards, offering a seamless, customised and centralized customer experience. Through its mobile app, credit cards become loyalty cards. After connecting the application to their bank through a secure interface made possible through the PSD2 directive, customers can automatically accumulate reward points every time they use their usual credit card in dozens of big retailers including McDonald’s, Uber, Starbucks, Zara, and many more. Founded in 2018, the fintech startup has already raised €11.7 million from investors like Partech, Axeleo Capital, Lafayette Plug and Play, and several angel investors.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!