November 23, 2023

French impact startups have raised nearly €10 billion since their creation

French impact startups have raised nearly €10 billion since their creation

👉 Discover the complete mapping HERE 👈

France Digitale, Bpifrance Le Hub and the Mouvement Impact France worked together to produce this year's4th edition of the mapping of French impact startups, revealed today in Paris at theImpact Day of France Digitale. The three organizations have identified 1,142 startups whose core business has a significantly positive impact on the environment and society. This mapping also highlights the resilience and maturity of an ecosystem that continues to grow and employs 32,000 people in France, despite a difficult economic context. A strong signal and further proof that France is one of the spearheads of an innovative and sustainable Europe.

Key figures

To find all the startups and the analysis, click here 👉

Impact, the new grail for French startups?

Global warming, the energy and food transition, decarbonized mobility, waste recycling, inclusion and social cohesion for all... all these challenges require increasingly urgent responses. Thanks to their capacity for innovation and their solutions, startups can make their contribution, as shown by this4th edition of the mapping of French startups with impact.

With 1,142 startups identified (i.e. +6% in one year), this mapping confirms that, despite a more difficult economic context over the last 12 months, impact startups continue to grow and attract both capital and talent.

A few figures bear this out: these startups have raised a total of almost €10 billion since their creation, with an average ticket of €10 million per startup raised (i.e. 70% of the mapping). These investments have a significant impact on employment, as impact startups account for 32,000 jobs (+2,000 jobs in 1 year), with an average of 30 jobs per startup (vs. 27 last year).

Which sectors are doing well?

Four sectors are particularly well represented in this mapping. First, Energy, with 12% of startups, 4,500 employees and over €3 billion in funds raised. Next come the Circular Economy, with 12% of startups, 3,600 employees and €900 million in funding, Agriculture, with 11% of startups, 4,400 employees and €1.4 billion in funding, and Mobility, with 11% of startups, 4,000 employees and €1.6 billion in funding.

Within these sectors, several startups have developed technological innovations that have been particularly visible and used in recent years. In the Energy sector, startups such as Verkor and Iten are developing new-generation batteries that will have a major impact on the industry in years to come. This is also the case with the production and valorization of renewable energies, such as Beem Energy, Girasole, HySiLabs Technologies, Qair Group, Qarnot and Verso Energy. Startups such as Accenta, Kayrros and Metron are also particularly keen to manage the energy transition.

Mobility-related startups specializing in electric charging stations have raised substantial funds in recent years: Bump, Driveco, Electra, Watt and Zeplug. Other startups are addressing this market to reduce the sector's impact: Flying Whales with its low-impact airships, Shopopop for co-delivery or K-ryole and its French electric carts and trailers.

Last but not least, many startups have entered the daily lives of French people, revolutionizing our consumption patterns(Backmarket, Phénix or Too Good To Go), human or animal nutrition(Innovafeed, La Vie or Ynsect) or inclusion approaches(BlueFrogRobotics, Colette, Ouihelp or Team'Parents).

To continue to grow and bring their innovations to as many people as possible, the mapping reveals that these startups are primarily looking for partnerships and commercial cooperation (25%), and to expand nationally (18%) and internationally (18%).

This latest edition of the mapping demonstrates the growth and resilience of the impact startup ecosystem, and positions France as an essential breeding ground for innovation to meet environmental and societal challenges. If we want these startups to multiply their positive impact, we need to enable them to deploy on a European scale. A harmonized single market and proactive public and private ordering policies for our startups are essential reforms to make Europe the leader in sustainable innovation. These are demands that we intend to put on the agenda in the coming months, particularly during the European elections.

‍MayaNoël, managing director of France Digitale.

The French innovation ecosystem has grown up around the challenges facing our companies and our society. That's what Bpifrance's mission has been all about for over 10 years: supporting French entrepreneurs who embody this capacity for vision and action. The mapping of startups at Impact reveals the challenges of the moment, and shows us that solutions are multiplying and growing, so there's plenty to be optimistic about!

Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Innovation at Bpifrance.

Gradually, this ecosystem is taking its place as an essential component that is spreading across all sectors. This deliverable should encourage us to move on to the next stage: consolidating, collaborating and giving substance to these initiatives. I'm convinced that if every reader asks himself or herself how they can be applied in his or her personal and professional life, we'll make collective progress.

Startups paving the way for sustainability trajectories 

With key new regulations for sustainability reporting such as the European CSRD coming into force in early 2024, startups need to prepare to measure and reduce their environmental and social impact to continue to grow.

The mapping reveals for the first time that impact startups are at the forefront of these issues:

  • 1/ by measuring and reducing their environmental impact (64%)
  • 2/ for 43% of them, by reducing their use of natural resources. 

On the social front, these startups also attach great importance to their impact by actively promoting gender equality policies internally (70%) or by integrating young people and seniors into their actions and teams (50%).

To measure their impact, the indicators most commonly used by startups are CO2e emissions avoided (48%), tons of waste avoided (21%), the number of beneficiaries (disabled, young people, senior citizens, people on integration schemes, residents of disadvantaged urban districts, etc.) who have received support (18%) or the costs avoided for society and the environment (11%).

What's more, 82% of impact startups reveal that they have obtained at least 1 label or status to promote their impact activities. Particularly prized are ESS status or ESUS accreditation, mission company status, or the Solar Impulse, BCorp and Coq Vert labels.

With the arrival of the Mouvement Impact France in this new edition of the mapping, the impact selection criteria have been tightened to select only the most committed startups. Despite this, the number of impact startups continued to rise this year. 18% of the startups in this mapping are SSE (Social and Solidarity Economy) companies, demonstrating the capacity of SSE commercial companies to innovate and scale up to become tomorrow's impact unicorns.

Caroline Neyron, Managing Director of Mouvement Impact France.

👉 Discover the complete mapping HERE 👈

Impact mapping methodology

Based on a call for applications in the 1st half of 2023, this mapping aims to offer a clear vision of positive-impact startups in France. Most of the information provided is taken from a questionnaire and is therefore declarative. For the sake of completeness, the list has been completed using the proprietary databases of the three partners, and missing information has been filled in on the basis of direct surveys and public sources (Crunchbase, Dealroom).

For this year's event, particular attention was paid to the selection and grading of startups, notably through an individual assessment of each project on the basis of impact, scalability and innovation criteria, carried out by the three organizations to give special recognition to the most innovative champions in terms of impact.

Specific criteria :

  • Founding date: Only companies founded from 2010 onwards have been included.
  • Listing status and independence: unlisted or non-acquired companies.
  • Head office : companies based in France.
  • Specific exclusions: job boards, companies operating in the healthcare sector (the subject of future mapping), traditional vocational training companies, outsourced Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) and service and consulting companies.

Press coverage

Les Echos >>

The mapping of impact startups returns for a new 2024 edition. Want to be part of it? Just fill in this questionnaire!

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