It seems fitting that the largest startup campus in Paris is 300 meters long, the same size as the Eiffel Tower. Built in a former freight station, Station F is home to 1,000 early-stage startups. Glazed meeting rooms reveal entrepreneurs huddled together in meeting rooms or installing circular lights. Google, Apple and La French Tech, a government agency, all offer training and advice from their internal offices here. Station F embodies the success of the support network that France has built around its startups, which are now beginning to attract significant funding.
In the first three months of the year, France raised $5.4 billion (around €5.3 billion) in venture capital funds, double the amount raised in the same period. last year. There have always been tech talents in Paris, explains Clara Chappaz, director of La French Tech. “The ecosystem is now really accelerating and we have the means to go much further, to really nurture this talent,” she says.
When Tara Heuzé-Sarmini was invited to a job interview at a co-living company targeting professionals in Germany, she had a realization. “I didn’t want to co-living for yuppies working in tech in Berlin,” she says. “I wanted to do something more impactful.” Instead, Heuzé-Sarmini and co-founder Ruben Petri launched Commune, a Parisian startup applying the idea of communal living to single parents with young children. One in four French families lives in a single-parent household. Yet housing across the country is still geared towards couples, meaning they often have to move into cramped one-bed apartments to keep costs down. Commune, which launched in 2021 and raised 1.5 million euros (about $1.5 million) in seed funding the following year, plans to offer recently separated parents the privacy of their own independent apartment combined with the community of a common kitchen and games room. Their first location in Paris, a former hotel, can accommodate 22 families and is expected to open in early 2023. commune.house
Paris is full of fintechs. But Amine Bounjou and Scott Gordon believe they have found a niche in the market: unbanked under-18s in France. Their company, Kard, offers a bank account with two separate apps: one for kids and one for their parents. Kids use their Kard account to spend pocket money or get paid to sell clothes online, while parents use the app to set spending limits and understand their offspring’s shopping habits. So far, 85,000 teens and tweens have been tempted to join Kard’s Instagram presence and shiny metallic cards. But Kard doesn’t want to be a children’s bank forever, and their journey to becoming a retail bank is based on a clever idea: “People don’t leave their first bank,” says Gordon. The startup has raised a total of €10 million since its launch in 2019, with BlaBlaCar co-founder Francis Nappez among the investors. kard.eu
When the pandemic first crashed in Italy, Audrey Barbier-Litvak ran WeWork offices in southern Europe. It was his team’s job to figure out how many people still wanted to work from the company’s coworking space in Milan. “It was a nightmare,” she says, describing the spreadsheet they used to track 1,000 people. This experience inspired Offishall, a hybrid work-planning tool that Barbier-Litvak launched in 2020 with co-founders Pierre Godret and Bruno Ronzani. The pandemic has created the freedom to choose where you want to work, but this new freedom has to be organized, she says. Users tell Offishall when they will be working from home and when they will be in the office, and use the software to see who else will be in the office on different days. This data can also help Offishall clients, such as the world’s largest luxury group, LVMH, understand their team’s habits if they want to downsize or rearrange their office. The company raised €1.2 million in August 2021. offishall.io
Omie & Cie
Christian Jorge has already proven that he can make a startup a success. He was one of the co-founders of second-hand fashion site, Vestiaire Collective, which was valued at $1.7 billion last year. Partnering with co-founders Joséphine Bournonville, Coline Burland and Benoit Del Basso, her next venture is tackling the climate crisis by focusing on food, not clothes. Launched in 2021, Omie & Cie wants to revolutionize online grocery shopping through transparency. Every Omnie product, from ketchup to egg, comes with a breakdown of where the ingredients came from, the profit split, and any packaging waste. The company claims that 5,000 families use its site to buy all their groceries. It has raised €4 million to date, with French chef Thierry Marx among the investors. omie.fr
Greenly aims to make carbon accounting more accessible, says Alexis Normand, who co-founded the company with Matthieu Vegreville and Arnaud Delubac in 2019. The core of the startup’s business is helping SMEs calculate the amount of carbon they could save by moving to greener data centers or buying more eco-friendly laptops. About 60,000 people have also downloaded the company’s app, which analyzes a user’s bank account to estimate emissions associated with transactions at gas stations or supermarkets. Greenly’s technology has already been integrated into the banking app operated by French banking group BNP Paribas, and in April 2022 the company raised €21.5m as part of its Series A. greenly.earth
In less than a year, the Parisian startup Maki has built an HR platform that aims to replace CVs with gamified online tests intended to make the recruitment process more efficient and fair. Launched in November 2021, the three co-founders of Maki, Maxime Legardez, Paul-Louis Caylar and Benjamin Chino, have so far enlisted 220 companies to use their platform, including McDonald’s in France. Maki’s platform offers tests that assess candidates’ personality, cognitive abilities, comfort with tools such as Excel, and soft skills, such as their ability to give and receive feedback. To date, the company has received €11 million in funding. makipeople.com
Virtual reality avatars can usually walk and run, but they cannot perform custom TikTok moves or copy footballer victory dances. Yassine Tahi and fellow player Henri Mirande believe this is a problem; they wanted to give people the ability to express themselves in virtual reality and in future iterations of the metaverse. So in 2020, the duo co-founded Kinetix Tech, a platform that allows their user base of 25,000 people to turn videos of themselves dancing into animated avatars that can be imported into virtual worlds such as Roblox without any 3D animation experience. The startup raised $11 million in seed funding in May, with virtual worlds The Sandbox and ZEPETO participating in the round. kinetix.tech
When Netflix came out squid game, gamers wanted to play games that shared the storyline of the hit TV series, says Daniel Nathan, who launched Homa Games with co-founder Olivier Le Bas in 2019. The company is a game publisher that provides independent developers with free tools so they can quickly create and distribute their ideas fast enough to react to pop culture moments. Developers can use Homa Games to see trends and access the company’s advertising technology to monetize their games. So far, games made on the Homa platform have been installed nearly a billion times, and the company has raised $65 million from investors, including the founders of King, the company behind candy Crush. homgames.com
In order to eradicate the disadvantages of freelance work, Nioclas Fayon, Thibault Coulon and Maxime Bouchet launched Jump in 2021. In exchange for a monthly fee of €79 or €99, the startup hires freelancers and on-demand workers in long-term contracts. ; Jump freelancers are then paid into their Jump bank account and the company handles their tax and retirement management. If a customer pays late, Jump can provide an advance or vouch for them if they wish to apply for a loan or mortgage. The company raised €4m in a 2021 funding round led by Deliveroo and investor Revolut Index Ventures. join-jump.com
Pigment is the Parisian startup trying to tackle Excel. The company was founded in 2019 on the idea that businesses lack the tools to visualize business data and perform financial planning. Instead, they end up resorting to Excel because the new tools just don’t offer the same flexibility, says Pigment marketing manager Regina Croda. That’s why Pigment co-founders Eléonore Crespo and Romain Niccoli created a new tool that they describe as more intuitive and user-friendly, which also encourages collaboration. Colleagues can leave comments in the cells of the spreadsheet, for example. The company counts Deliveroo and Blabla Car among its clients and has raised over $100 million to date. gopigment.com