France, the new land of unicorns. There is no question here of the existence in our campaigns of these imaginary animals but of start-ups valued at more than a billion dollars. Symbol of success in Silicon Valley, this step was introduced in France with the emergence of the “start-up nation”. After a difficult start, the hexagonal delay was gradually made up. And “French Tech” is now experiencing a golden period: the number of unicorns has practically doubled in six months, from 10 to 19. The consequence, in particular, of a particularly prosperous post-health crisis period.
The “start-up nation” seduces foreign investors
Younited Credit is the latest start-up to join the very select club of unicorns on July 8. According to L’Express, this online consumer loan distribution company, created in 2009, has raised $ 170 million from investors, including US bank Goldman Sachs. An operation that allows it to exceed the threshold of one billion dollars in valuation, six years after BlaBlaCar, the first French start-up to have achieved this feat. Since then, France has gained in attractiveness, raising funds of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars have become commonplace.
“France has experienced fairly rapid growth in recent years. The” start-up nation “positioning has been very well received abroad and it has helped bring in investors. The French institutional ecosystem has also evolved for the better support start-ups in their fundraising “, analysis for Europe 1 Christopher Dembik, economist and director at Saxo Bank. The establishment of a massive delegation of French Tech at CES in Las Vegas and events such as Choose France, intended to attract foreign investors, therefore seems to be bearing fruit.
A health crisis with unexpected economic benefits
As a result, France now has 19 unicorns in all sectors of the economy: music, IT, real estate, health, insurance, video games … Some have become known over time such as OVH, Deezer, Doctolib and more recently Back Market, seller of refurbished smartphones, and ManoMano, our “DIY Amazon”. At this rate, French Tech should reach the goal set by Emmanuel Macron of 25 unicorns in 2025 very early on.
Paradoxically, this sudden acceleration in 2021 is a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The health crisis has been beneficial to start-ups. During this period, States and central banks have paid astronomical sums of money to support the economy,” recalls Christopher Dembik. “As a result, investors had so much money to invest that they were a little less careful. This explains why there have been so many fundraisers since the start of the year, it is no longer an extraordinary phenomenon. . “
France, 6th in the ranking of unicorns
In fact, France is not an isolated case. Since the beginning of the year, 220 unicorns have already emerged in the world, that is to say twice more in six months than in the whole of 2020. A golden period which should last a little longer. “The European Central Bank maintained its very accommodating policy at the beginning of July. Liquidity will continue to arrive on the markets. For start-ups, it will therefore still be quite easy to raise funds for another six months to a year. beyond, it is more difficult to project “, considers Christopher Dembik.
Everyone benefits from the free flowing money, but France maybe more than others. In no time, we caught up and we are today the 6th country in number of unicorns, behind the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Israel but we are now ahead of the Germany. Next step for the French nuggets: to grow even more to become “décacornes”, start-ups valued at more than 10 billion dollars. There are only about thirty of them in the world.