A thriving French startup scene has seen France take the largest foreign delegation to the Las Vegas CES several years in a row. Increasingly creative French startups have made a name for themselves during this time, surprising many with their innovations. Their international success has also burnished the reputation of French entrepreneurs.  

In March 2017, a survey carried out by Idinvest revealed that 34% of French people would like to set up their own business, while figures from the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) show that more than 590,000 businesses were founded in 2017, including more than 241,000 sole proprietorships. France is now ranked second in Europe for enterprise creation (Eurostat, 2016) and Paris is home to more than 3,000 startups (EY for “La French Tech”, 2017). These are all figures that confirm the French passion for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

France is investing in its startups

In its “State of European Tech 2017” annual report, the multinational venture capital fund Atomico ranked France ahead of the United Kingdom for VC deals in 2017. France attracted a record US$2 billion of investment in startups during this time, with a significant increase in investments worth more than US$50 million. The latter include Doctolib (US$72 million), ManoMano (US$71 million), Younited Credit (US$50 million), Blade (US$60 million), Actility (US$82 million) and Ivalua (US$75 million). 

“La French Tech” underpinning French success

These companies have also made a name for themselves through the “La French Tech” initiative. Launched by the government in 2013, “La French Tech” refers to all people working for or with French startups, in France and abroad, including entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, designers, developers, large firms, associations, media organizations, government agencies, research institutes, i.e. everyone involved in helping French startups to grow and raise their international profile.

Many French startups have managed to stand out from the crowd by coming up with increasingly creative innovations.

What if…? French startups re-imagining the world

Entrepreneurship in France is on the rise. Three-quarters (75%) of French people believe that “entrepreneurs who set up their business in France today are transforming the country by re-inventing the world and the way we’ll live tomorrow.”

The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) published the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index on November 29, 2017. The report assesses and ranks 137 countries on their ability to offer a healthy entrepreneurship ecosystem, examining the attitudes, abilities and aspirations of their entrepreneurs. After finishing 13th in the 2017 index, France was ranked 10th in the 2018 standings.

In early 2017, Business France published a new book focusing on the creative successes of a wide variety of startups. Entitled “What if…? Startups re-imagining the world”, the publication showcases 35 French and foreign startups, ‘unicorns’, and fledgling firms from various sectors that have successfully set up business in France. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art television remote, smart camera or mind-blowing algorithm, today’s generation of entrepreneurs are never short of extraordinary and surprising ideas. Each of the 35 success stories shows not only how French businesses are self-confident and full of bright ideas, but also how they’re keen to go global.

All of these successes serve to highlight France’s outstanding entrepreneurial ecosystem and capacity for innovation. In the words of leading French businessman Xavier Niel: “The word entrepreneur is French, it’s in our DNA. We’re always keen to start things and set up businesses.”