THE 2021 EDITION OF FT120 AND NEXT40 WILL HOST 30 STARTUPS

The participants in the Next40 and French Tech 120 (FT120) were unveiled on 8 February by Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications. For this second edition, the FT120 is welcoming around thirty new start-ups and the Next40 is welcoming 12, including 9 from the first FT120 promotion. These new participants will be given a special program to boost their business development. Initiated in 2019, this project aims to promote and support the most promising start-ups that will eventually become tomorrow’s technology leaders. The main addition to the 2021 edition is the introduction of a Board Impact to promote diversity and gender equality.

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ABOUT 40 NEW ENTRANTS FOR THE 2021 EDITION

The selection criteria have not been changed by the organizers, despite the numerous criticisms. Thus, French unicorns are automatically included in the Next40. These are unlisted technology companies with a value of more than $1 billion, and start-ups that have raised more than €100 million over the last three years. The selection process for the remaining start-ups was based on several criteria such as fundraising, revenue and average annual growth. All these companies are likely to be acquired by global giants in the near future.

While the 40 Next40 start-ups are automatically included in the FT120, all other start-ups must meet several requirements. For instance, they must be headquartered in France, not have been subject to a takeover and demonstrate an innovative dimension in their business. Each region is represented by two start-ups, one on the basis of the fundraising factor and the other on the basis of the hyper-growth factor.

Both programs will provide support and assistance to the selected start-ups in the next steps of their journey, up to their IPO thanks to the upcoming partnership with Euronext. As in previous edition, 30% of the start-ups that have joined the FT120 this year are located outside the Ile-de-France region.

In the new Next40 class, a total of 7 regions are now represented thanks to the participation of Kinéis (Occitanie), Skeepers (Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’azur), Akénéo (Pays-de-la-Loire), Lumapps (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) and Exotec (Hauts-de-France). Of the dozen startups that have joined the Next40, 9 were present at the first edition of the FT120, which welcomed 30 new startups.

 

AN AVERAGE TURNOVER IN STRONG GROWTH

The 120 startups of the new edition have achieved a cumulative turnover of €8.85 billion in 2019, which is an increase of 55% since 2017. These startups alone raised €3 billion, which is more than 50% of the year’s fundraising. These impressive figures are mainly attributable to the presence of high-performing brands such as OVH, Doctolib and Ledger.

The industrial sector is the most represented with 27% of the selected startups, including Aledia, Ynsect and Innovafeed. The health sector ranks 2nd with 23% of participants divided between HealthTech and Medtech companies. The Fintech sector is also well represented, accounting for 15% of participating companies. Finally, the Cleantech Mobility sector accounts for 12% of participants this year (compared to 7% last year).

 

A GREAT DYNAMIC IN TERMS OF JOB CREATION

The participants in this new edition have a total of 37,500 employees, including more than 26,000 based in France.  These figures show a clear increase compared to the previous edition, which only registered 17,700 people in France. The stakes are therefore enormous, particularly in terms of supporting startups to consolidate these positions.

Moreover, these companies have created a total of 10,000 new jobs in 2020, which represents about 50% of the jobs created by digital companies of all sizes, estimated at 21,500 jobs by the government.  The FT120 should create 10,000 jobs in 2021.

 

TOWARDS A SCALE-UP ECOSYSTEM

After the deployment of a French Tech ecosystem that federates all French start-ups, the time has come to develop a scale-up ecosystem to give birth to international start-ups. The idea is taking root, as evidenced by the tightening of financial criteria for inclusion in the ranking. Indeed, the minimum fundraising has been increased from 20 million euros to 23 million euros for the 2021 edition. The revenue growth requirement has been increased from a minimum of €8 million to €14 million.

The selected start-ups can rely on a network of 60 French Tech correspondents who work in government agencies and other public services. They are responsible for helping start-ups overcome the financial, administrative, tax and regulatory obstacles they may encounter. The support offered by these correspondents includes relations between start-ups and administrations such as URSSAF, the Bank of France, INPI, the French Ministry of Education and the customs authorities. The winning start-ups are favored by the Government and can take part in official delegations abroad.

 

A BOARD IMPACT ON DIVERSITY AND GENDER EQUALITY.

This new edition is not yet representative of French society as it only includes 7 women CEOs or founders. Diversity is not respected either. That is why the Government has urged the organizers and participants of the 2021 edition to focus on gender and diversity issues in partnership with the associations Sista and TechYourPlace as well as the impact fund Future Positive Capital. A list of commitments is expected to be presented by the end of 2021.

As part of this process, a Board Impact has been set up. It will be responsible for defining best practices in terms of diversity and inclusion. It should be noted that its recommendations are not binding and have no impact on admission to the Next40 and FT120.

Launched in 2019 by President Emmanuel Macron, the French Tech and Next40/120 support program was a huge success in 2020. It has helped France become the leading digital ecosystem in the European Union. The Government hopes to mobilize the selected startups for the 2021 edition to serve societal and environmental objectives in particular.

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