After a year 2021 of all records for French start-ups, 2022 looks promising

And 25! By announcing, Monday, January 17, a fundraising of 293 million euros, Exotec, a specialist in small robots for logistics warehouses, becomes the 25e French unicorn, i.e. a young company valued at more than one billion euros. With these new resources, the company, which already has 360 employees, plans to hire 500 engineers by 2025 and at least as many employees for other functions (production, maintenance, execution, etc.).

Less than a week ago, on January 11, it was almost despite herself that Back Market, another tricolor start-up, became the most valued young shoot in France. After a fundraising of 450 million euros, it now weighs 5.1 billion. This round table, Thibaud Hug de Larauze, the co-founding boss of the company specializing in the reconditioning of electronic products, explains that he did not request it: “We had exchanged with Sprints Capital in May 2021 on the occasion of the previous fundraising (276 million euros) and the process had gone so fast that they had failed to position themselves. Since then we have spoken two or three times, they really wanted to present an offer, all our shareholders were ready to seize this opportunity. »

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Raising private capital seems to have never been so easy for “French Tech”. Since the beginning of the year, five young companies have announced major fundraising: the fintech Qonto attracted 486 million euros in financing on January 11, Pay Fit, 254 million, on January 6, Ankorstore, 250 million . The French tech scene has already attracted 1.7 billion euros in capital, and created as many new unicorns.

Table rounds

The sign of the vitality of an ecosystem whose EY firm reveals the unprecedented performance in a report published Monday, January 17, covering the year 2021. With 11.57 billion euros raised by French start-ups, the far surpasses (+115%) the peaks reached in 2020 (5.39 billion). Other records broken: those for the number of funding rounds of more than 100 million euros (22 compared to 9 in 2020), the largest fundraising ever made (Sorare, NFT specialist, with 586 million euros) and the number of unicorns created (twelve). France now has 25.

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To these results, Franck Sebag, partner at EY, provides several explanations. A catch-up effect compared to a year 2020 whose performance, although robust as ever, was reduced due to Covid-19, with a weak growth in fundraising (+7% against +40% the two previous years). A mechanical effect: with increasingly mature start-ups, France still has more candidates for very large rounds of funding. Finally the breakthrough of tricolor Fintech, which had been slow to emerge. Among the 12 new unicorns that appeared in 2021, EY lists five in this sector: Alan, Ledger, Lydia, Sorare and Swile.

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