It’s that time of year. The French government and the government-sponsored initiative La French Tech collected applications, processed the numbers and ranked the 120 best performing startups in France right now, with a special category for the top 40. The result is two rankings based on objective criteria — the Next40 and French Tech 120.
Before I tell you more about the criteria and what you get for being on these lists, here’s this year’s French Tech 120 and Next40:
Compared to last year’s Next40, 29 already belonged to the top category. It means 11 startups joined the group – some were already part of France’s Tech 120 and outperformed the rest of the startup industry, such as EcoVadis, NW Storm, Innovafeed, Pigment and Verkor.
Being newcomers to the Next40 Club financing (a real estate investment platform), Electricity And ZePlug (two electric vehicle charging startups), Flying whales (manufacturer of airships), SAFTI (real estate marketplace) and First (a professional telecom company).
As for last year’s Next40 startups, some of them became public companies – the French government wants to include only private companies in this ranking to give some visibility to companies that don’t publicly share their earnings. That’s why Deezer is gone this year and OVHcloud was taken off the list last year. Others dropped to the second category or dropped out of the rankings altogether. Meero, for example, is nowhere to be found.
The Next40 ranking is still largely determined by how much VC money you’ve raised. If your company is a unicorn, meaning if you raised a round of funding that resulted in a valuation of $1 billion or more, the startup automatically becomes a Next40 company. For example, 26 companies joined the Next40. As for the rest of the group, they raised a round of funding of €100 million or more ($107 million at the current exchange rate) between 2020 and 2022.
In the next category, the French Tech 120, the government selected the 40 companies that have secured the largest rounds of financing. For this year, these startups have raised at least €40 million ($43 million).
Finally, the government looked at the revenues for the last 40 selected startups. These companies generated an annual turnover of at least €10 million and were growing at a rapid pace with an annual turnover growth of at least 25% over the past three years.
And it’s true that some of these startups are now generating serious revenue. For example, Mirakl has earned $135 million in annual recurring revenue by 2022. The startup operates marketplaces for third-party products on popular e-commerce websites. The company processed $6 billion in gross trading volume last year. Digital marketing automation service Sendinblue reached €100 million in annual recurring revenue ($107 million). Younited reported €190 million ($203 million) in revenue last year.
These French startups can turn to La French Tech if they have a problem with government services. La French Tech can then make an introduction with a French Tech representative in one of the 60 different partner administrations. These representatives try to help startups obtain visas for foreign workers, obtain a certification or a patent, sell a product to a public administration, etc.
In total, the 120 companies in the French Tech 120 employ 47,800 people. These startups generate €11.3 billion ($12 billion) in revenue. In other words, most stats go up and to the right, but some grow faster than others. For example, only 15 companies have at least one female co-founder or CEO. There is still a long way to go when it comes to female representation and diversity in the French tech ecosystem.