French startups raised more than 1.1 billion euros between January and March 2019. If the number of operations is maintained compared to last year at the same time, the average ticket continues to increase. France has also created its fifth unicorn, Doctolib. Even more impressive, in just 65 days, there were more mega-stakes of more than 100 million euros (4) than in 2018 as a whole.
French Tech is in great shape. 2019 is even very well off to explode the record of 2018 amounts raised by French startups. According to our calculations, based on the census carried out by us and supplemented by those of the specialized site Maddyness and the investment bank eCap Partner, the tricolor nuggets have already raised more than 1.1 billion euros in the first quarter, in 165 operations. Last year at the same time, the French Tech had raised a little more than 800 million euros. That’s an increase of about 30%. In other words, if the trend is confirmed, the bar of 4 billion euros of funds raised in 2019 could be largely crossed, while France remained on 3.62 billion euros in 2018, 2.56 billion in 2017 and 2.20 billion in 2016.
Since the beginning of 2019, the phenomenon observed in 2018 seems to be growing: if the number of rounds remains stable, the average amounts, they, explode, thanks to the proliferation of Series B and beyond. In detail, tickets of less than five million euros still represent the main rounds. But in the first quarter of 2019, there were 43 levees of more than 5 million euros (compared with 33 in the first quarter of 2018, almost a quarter more), of which 23 more than 10 million euros (compared with 19 in 2018). More and more French startups survive their early years and manage to raise funds as a “scale-up”, that is to say companies hyper-growth in search of internationalization and consolidation of their market share, to become at least a beautiful ETI, at best a future giant.
4 mega-raised more than 100 million euros and a fifth unicorn (Doctolib)
By April 5, France already has four mega-raised, that is to say, rounds of more than 100 million euros. Two in the first quarter and two in early April.
Thus, Ÿnsect raised in February 110 million euros to try to feed the planet with its alternative proteins. In March, e-health champion Doctolib became the fifth French unicorn by raising 150 million euros to conquer Europe. Earlier this week, the e-commerce platform specializing in DIY and gardening ManoMano, raised 110 million euros to consolidate its positions and compete with Amazon in this segment. Lastly, the French and European leader in HR solutions for companies, HR Path, has just completed a 100 million euro roundtable to conquer Asia and the United States.
However, France does not have the habit of generating a lot of mega-levées. Traditionally, France is lagging behind in Europe, especially compared to the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2017, the biggest French levy had been Actility (71 million euros). In 2018, three French nuggets had crossed the milestone of 100 million, against five in Germany and ten in the United Kingdom. These included Voodoo (171 million euros in May 2018), Deezer (which became the fourth unicorn in July 2018 with a total of 160 million euros), and BlaBlaCar (101 million euros in December 2018). With four mega-lifts, 2019 is already doing better while there are still nine months left before the end of the year.
The other interesting lesson of these mega-lifts is the rise of French funds. While 80% of the fundraising of more than 20 million euros in 2018 was conducted by foreign funds (including Voodoo and Deezer), only Doctolib chose an American as lead investor (General Atlantic). Ÿnsect, ManoMano and HR Path all used French, which was not the case, for example, for the last ManoMano event.
Ÿnsect raised money from Astanor Ventures (owned by a single Frenchman, Eric Archambeau, who makes his first transaction here), Bpifrance and Idinvest Partners.
ManoMano chose Eurazeo, Aglaé Ventures and Bpifrance.
HR Path solicited Andera Partners and a French banking pool.