It’s that time of the year. The French government and the government-backed initiative La French Tech gathered applications, processed the numbers and ranked the 120 top-performing startups in France right now, with a special category for the top 40 ones. The result is two rankings that are based on objective criteria — the Next40 and French Tech 120.
Before I tell you more about the criteria and what you get when you’re part of these lists, here’s this year’s French Tech 120 and Next40:
Compared to last year’s Next40, 29 of them were already part of the top category. It means that 11 startups joined the group — some of them were already part of the French Tech 120 and out-performed the rest of the startup industry, such as EcoVadis, NW Storm, Innovafeed, Pigment and Verkor.
Newcomers in the Next40 are ClubFunding (a real estate investment platform), Electra and ZePlug (two EV charging startups), Flying Whales (airship manufacturer), SAFTI (real estate marketplace) and Wifirst (a professional telecom company).
As for last year’s Next40 startups, some of them became public companies — the French government only wants to include private companies in these rankings to give some visibility to companies that don’t share their earnings publicly. That’s the reason why Deezer is no longer here this year and OVHcloud was removed from the list last year. Others moved down to the second category or dropped of the rankings altogether. For instance, Meero is nowhere to be found.
The Next40 ranking is still mostly determined by how much VC money you’ve raised. If your company is a unicorn, which means that if you have raised a funding round that led to a valuation of $1 billion or more, the startup automatically becomes a Next40 company. That’s how 26 companies joined the Next40. As for the rest of the group, they have raised a funding round of €100 million or more between 2020 and 2022 ($107 million at today’s exchange rate).
In the next category, the French Tech 120, the government selected the 40 companies that have raised the biggest funding rounds. For this year, these startups have raised at least €40 million ($43 million).
Finally, for the last 40 startups that have been selected, the government looked at revenue. These companies generated at least €10 million in annual turnover and have been growing at a rapid pace with at least 25% in year-on-year revenue growth over the last three years.
And it’s true that some of these startups now generate some serious revenue. For instance, Mirakl has reached $135 million in annual recurring revenue in 2022. The startup operates marketplaces for third-party products on popular e-commerce websites. The company processed $6 billion in gross merchandise volume last year. Digital marketing automation service Sendinblue reached €100 million in annual recurring revenue ($107 million). Younited reported €190 million ($203 million) in revenue last year.
These French startups can reach out to La French Tech if they face an issue with public administrations. La French Tech can then make an intro with a French Tech representative in one of the 60 different partner administrations. These reps try to help startups when it comes to obtaining visas for foreign employees, getting a certification or a patent, selling a product to a public administration, etc.
Overall, the 120 companies in the French Tech 120 work with 47,800 employees. These startups generate €11.3 billion in revenue ($12 billion). In other words, most metrics are moving up and to the right, but some are growing more rapidly than others. For instance, only 15 companies have at least one female co-founder or CEO. There’s still a long way to go when it comes to female representation and diversity in the French tech ecosystem.