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EY French Venture Capital Barometer

1st semester 2019

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With its ability to attract investment, French Tech has reached new heights in terms of investments during the first half of 2019. It remains to carry out significant exit operations to catch up with our European and international counterparts.

#FrenchTech is soaring… now we need to man the exits!

The first half of 2019 will yet again go down as a record-breaking six months. First and foremost, the sums invested in French Tech start-ups totalled €2.8 billion spread over 387 rounds, up 43% and 16% respectively compared to the preceding half-year. To further illustrate this phenomenal rise, the funds raised in the first half of 2019 alone amounted to over €200 million more than those raised in the whole of 2017: €2.8 billion, compared to the 2017 figure of €2.6 billion!

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This acceleration must be analysed in the light of the very strong increase in financing rounds exceeding €50 million, which accounted for 37% of the total funds raised during the first half of the year in terms of value (compared to 18% for the preceding half-year). At this juncture, we should salute the emergence of a new champion: Meero, a photo-retouching platform, which managed to raise €205 million – the largest private fund-raising initiative in the entire French sector!

The emergence of these very significant financing rounds has also had the effect of propelling several scale-ups, including Doctolib and Ivalua, to the door of the exclusive unicorn club, bringing our potential contenders to seven.

However, French Tech is not the only tech sector that is prospering. We had perhaps underestimated the United Kingdom’s ability to continue to set the pace in Europe. At the end of last year, the country’s tech sector was flagging, recording only a marginal increase of 6% in value.

However, a completely different trend has emerged over the course of the first half of 2019, with investments already totalling €5.3 billion, up 76%compared to the preceding half-year, and 19 potential unicorns. This represents a real boost. Conversely, Germany seems to be lagging behind, with investments only up slightly (4%) and, most alarmingly, a significant decrease in the number of rounds being recorded (down by 20%).

Today, the main challenge facing French Tech no longer solely concerns its ability to attract investments from wealthy sources – it is very likely that investments will total €5 billion by the end of the year – but also its ability to deliver returns on those investments, with capital gains to investment funds. Up to now, French Tech has not been as proactive as our European and international counterparts regarding this issue, and exit deals (mergers & acquisitions, initial public offerings) have been rare (greater than €300 million).

There are a number of reasons for this weakness: a less active stock market, the dearth of large French corporate companies on the market, but also, and above all, the fact that a number of companies are still too small to be able to compete on equal terms with our rivals. In the coming semesters, all eyes will be on French start-ups: their ability to complete significant exit deals will guarantee not only their success, but also that of FrenchTech.

Amounts raised by start-ups in France

€2,79bn in funds raised in 287 deals with an average deal size of €7,2m.

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Investments by sector

Once again, the digital sector remains the main investment item. Clean technologies, for their part, join the Top 5 investments by sector thanks to the fundraising made by the start-up Ynsect.

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Top 5 investments in venture capital in France

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Investments by maturity stage

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Investments on the basis of funds raised by tranche

The Île-de-France region accounted for 80% of investments in terms of value for the first half of 2019. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region remained in 2nd place for the third semester running, with 5% of investments in terms of value, closely followed by the Hauts-de-France region, which came in 3rd place with 4% of investments in terms of value.

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Investments by region

For the first half of 2019, the three most significant countries in total accounted for €10.55 billion of investments, i.e. 66% of all investments made in Europe in terms of value.

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Funds raised in excess of €50M in France, the United Kingdom and Germany

EY French Venture Capital Barometer

Top 10 investments in Europe

EY French Venture Capital Barometer


EY - Franck Sebag

Franck Sebag
EY Partner, Market Leader
Western Europe Maghreb