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December 4, 2023

French Unicorns: Celebrating the Success Stories of Tech Innovation

Dive into the thriving French startup ecosystem and learn about the remarkable success stories of unicorns that have made their mark on the global tech stage


Innovation, creative solutions, and job opportunities: In the last few years, startups have become essential to the world’s economy. With new mobile apps, different applications for artificial intelligence, and sustainable alternatives, the startup ecosystem has no limit when it comes to creation. In France, the government seems to be committed to investing in young companies. According to France’s 2030 plan, President Emmanuel Macron wants to invest in and support a special group among the startups: the unicorns.

French startup ecosystem overview

Unicorns are privately held companies valued at over $1 billion by venture capitalists. Currently, France has 26 unicorns. However, the government’s “France 2030 plan” report shows the country is committed to funding young companies. They want to invest €30 billion in the high-tech companies of the future. President Macron declared that he wants the country to have at least 100 tech unicorns by 2030.

Paris is known as the Silicon Valley of France. One of the concerns of startup creators is that investors and most funding are centered in Paris. Therefore, whoever is creating their startup in the capital has more chances than those who aren’t. Regardless, France has invested significantly in tech research, development, and industrial networks. The government declared in 2019 a €2.5 billion investment plan to develop 500 deep tech startups starting in 2025.

This year, the startup sector raised $6.7 billion in capital. Although it is going slower than last year - the country raised double the amount in 2022 - France is indeed committed to investing in young companies.In our next article we’ll show you the top soonicorns in France. Below, you can check the top 15 unicorns in France.

Top 15 French Unicorns: Back Market, Alan, Lydia, BlaBlaCar, Ankorstore and more

French startups: Unicorns

Back Market is an online marketplace for used and refurbished electronic devices, including smartphones, cameras, and laptops. With that, the company wants to promote a sustainable and circular economy and reduce electronic waste and carbon emissions. Most products sold also come with a warranty. The Parisian startup was founded in 2014, and since May 2021, is valued at $5.70 billion.

Back Market > French startup

Alan is a Parisian digital health insurance platform offering user-friendly and transparent health coverage. Their innovative approach utilizes technology to simplify insurance processes, reducing, for example, extensive paperwork or over complicated steps to get health insurance. With that, Alan can provide personalized and accessible healthcare solutions. The startup was founded in 2016 and is currently valued at $2.85 billion.

Valued at $1 billion, Lydia is a startup specializing in a payment app that allows people to make or receive money transfers, split bills, and manage expenses in general. It is available for people with French bank accounts but can also be used outside of the country without fees. That way, sharing expenses gets easier and more accessible. Lydia is also based in Paris.

Lydia > French startup

Blablacar, as the name suggests, is a carpool service platform connecting drivers with empty seats to passengers traveling the same route. The service is available in over 22 countries. Blablacar’s app offers users the ability to save transportation money, and contributes to less carbon emissions. The company was founded in 2006 and in 2015 was valued at $2.00 billion. Now, they also provide a bus service called BlaBlaBus.

Ankorstore is an e-commerce platform connecting and supporting independent retailers with unique, curated products from emerging brands. The startup stands out by highlighting what it offers as unique, and can't be found in marketplace giants. They empower local businesses by providing access to diverse, high-quality and distinctive goods. Ankorstore is present in more than 20 European countries, and is currently valued at $ 1.98 billion.

Ankorstore > French startup

Spendesk offers an expense-management platform for businesses. Their main focus is to help small and medium businesses manage finances, including expense tracking, approval processes, and financial reporting, providing companies with tools to manage and control expenses efficiently. The company was founded in 2015 in Paris and hit the $1.50 billion mark last year. Spandex has over 1000 employees and wants to hire an additional 700 people to the team.

Doctolib is a healthcare platform that simplifies appointment scheduling and medical services. The company offers an online platform for patients to create an account and book appointments for free. It connects patients with healthcare professionals. In the app, the patient can see information about the medical professional, such as what their specialty is or which languages they speak. The platform was founded in 2013 and is currently available in France, Italy, and Germany.

Doctolib > French startup

Exotec specializes in robotic solutions for logistics and order fulfillment, mainly in warehouses. Their autonomous robots work collaboratively to optimize inventory management and order picking, reducing costs and increasing efficiency in e-commerce and logistics operations. With the help of robots, Exotec can also reduce or replace human labor. It was founded in 2015 and is valued at $2.00 billion.

Deezer is a music streaming service offering a vast library of songs, playlists, and podcasts. Like Spotify and with global reach, Deezer has over 16 million active users. The platform provides users personalized music experiences and the ability to discover new content. The content can be streamed on different devices. Deezer was created in 2007 and has a catalog with over 90 million tracks.

Deezer > French startup

Voodoo is a popular mobile game publisher and developer. The company is known for providing solutions for video game developers who want to promote their work and provide gaming experiences. Voodoo has gained widespread popularity in the mobile gaming industry, attracting millions of players worldwide. The Paris-based company was founded in 2013 and is valued at $2.31 billion.

Ivalua is an IT supply chain management platform, mainly used by organizations. Most of the company’s operations are made through artificial intelligence, which encourages collaboration and decision-making. Their comprehensive solution empowers businesses to optimize supplier relationships, streamline procurement processes, and enhance overall supply chain efficiency. The company was founded in 2009 and it is valued at €4.4 billion in 2022.

Ledger is a startup focused on helping people and businesses to sell or buy cryptocurrencies. Users, such as investors, are able to store their cryptocurrencies in USB hardware, in a safe digital space. Ledger is committed to cyber security. The company is also based in Paris, and was founded in 2014. As of June 2021, the company is valued at $1.50 billion.

Ledger > French startup

Ecovadis is a company focused on assessing the sustainability ratings platform for businesses. They score companies' environmental and social performance, enabling organizations to make informed decisions, promote sustainability, and drive an ethical and positive social impact. Ecovadis is perhaps one of the greenest unicorns in the French startup industry. The Parisian company was founded in 2007 and is now valued at over $1 billion.

Contentsquare is a digital experience analytics platform. The company’s tools allow and help businesses understand and monitor user behavior on websites and apps, providing insights to optimize the user experience, increase engagement, and drive digital success. The company was founded in 2012, and is based in Paris. As of May 2021, Contentsquare is valued at $5.60 billion.

Dental monitoring offers a remote monitoring platform for patients. After dental treatment, patients can download the company's app and send pictures and updates to keep their dentist updated. The doctor can then keep track of their patients progress, improving dental and orthodontic care. The AI used by the company also facilitates the identification of dental health problems. Dental monitoring was founded in 2014 and is valued at $1.00 billion.

Dental Monitoring > French startup


France has shown significant commitment to investing in the startup landscape. Although most successful startups are centered in Paris, the government shows promise in funding new business ideas over the next ten years. France has over 25 unicorn companies, an extremely rare and successful achievement for any startup.

Not only that, but the country wants to increase that number to at least 100 in the next seven years. With all governmental support, the government has the potential to achieve such a goal.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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