Future unicorn trophies: here are our 50 most beautiful startups of 2022

Verkor, future tricolor champion? While Challenges presents, this September 15th, for the fifth time, the Trophies of the future French unicorns – these young shoots whose value will soon exceed the threshold of one billion euros – this pioneer of clean batteries, our winner in the greentech category, illustrates the vitality of our selection.

The Grenoble start-up, backed by Renault, Schneider Electric and Arkema, is embarking on the major project of building a gigafactory in Dunkirk that will open in 2023 to participate in Europe’s ambition, which aims at 25% of global production. of batteries for electric vehicles by 2030, compared to 3% today. Investment value: 1.5 billion that Verkor will have to raise quickly. A few weeks ago, the company launched the first drum school to train 1,500 people a year. Crucial, knowing that the government’s France 2030 plan estimates the needs of this industry at 40,000 people a year.

Read tooElectric car: why the battery as a service could arrive as early as 2024

DNA printers, e-learning and the quantum revolution

New challenges, new stars. “The ranking shows how much the French ecosystem has evolved, analyzes Caroline Hanriot-Sauveur, neo-business patron of Caisse d’Epargne Rhône-Alpes. Today, we are less on a niche strategy than on fundamental issues of sovereignty.” The pandemic and the crisis were there. They served as an accelerator for the nuggets that found the best idea at the right time, particularly in sectors promoted as national priorities.

Cheers, with DNA Script, our super unicorn whose DNA printers attract laboratories and industrialists from all over the world, or TreeFrog, another big winner in biotherapies, an industry where the State, as part of the France 2030 plan, would also like to put the turbo. Education, with the e-learning pope OpenClassrooms, set out to conquer America. The environment, embodied by Deepki (our award-winning ESG) and Kayrros, two nuggets of energy efficiency. Or the quantum revolution with Pasqal, a pioneer in the sector, a bet on the strategic future at an economic and geopolitical level. Investors are also working towards a more reasoned selection.

Read too100 startups to invest in in 2022

International context, rising inflation and interest rates

French startups are still raising a lot of money – €8.4 billion over the counter in the first half, according to EY’s venture capital barometer – and look to be on track to beat the 2021 score (17 billion). But now, the financier looks twice before putting his hand in his wallet: “In this, 2022 is also a crucial year, according to Camille Leca, director of listing activities at Euronext (France, Portugal, Spain). context, high inflation and interest rates, funds have less money to invest, are also less patient, more than revenue growth, aim at profitability. In the future, future unicorns will quickly be unicorns… or not at all. “

The Jury of the 5th Future Unicorns Trophy. From left to right: Charles Beigbeder (Audacia), Charles-Henri d’Auvigny (F2iC, Reputation Age), Cédric James (Audacia), David Lacombled (La villa numeris), Camille Leca (Euronext), Guillaume Morelli (Euronext) , Thuy-Diep Nguyen (Challenges), Eléonore de Rose (Audacia), Stéphane Villard (Deloitte), Maïlys Ferrere (Large Venture). Also on the jury were: Jean-Pascal Brivady (emlyon), Marc Lefèvre (Scope) and Frédéric Cormerois (Caisse d’Epargne). © B.Levy for Challenges

The ESG award, an asset for the employer brand

For the second year in a row, the Unicorn Trophies jury awards, with the rating agency Scope, the ESG unicorn award – environment, social and governance, these three key factors to assess the sustainability of an investment. The Scope method? The agency first carries out a macroeconomic assessment of the company and its entire production chain, using a dozen specific criteria (wage inequalities, pollution, water consumption, parity, etc.). A report she compares with industry and geographic data collected outside the company. In its category, but also in relation to other start-ups, Deepki undoubtedly wins. Normal, for an energy audit software publisher in the real estate sector? Better to lead by example. The price is, in any case, a real asset for your employer brand in a sector that promises to grow exponentially, but highly competitive. According to a recent Deloitte survey, one in five millennials is convinced that companies as a whole are better able to solve the most pressing global challenges, including climate change, wealth distribution and data protection.

2022 Super Unicorn Award: DNA Script, Pioneering Lab DNA Expert in Greener Buildings

2022 Super Unicorn Trophy Credit: E. TSCHAEN/REA

Covid’s prominence in messenger RNA has undoubtedly fueled the meteoric rise of DNA Script. Founded in 2014 by Thomas Ybert, polytechnic, with Sylvain Gariel and Xavier Godron of Mines ParisTech, biotechnology is revolutionizing DNA writing. Through fundraising (424 million euros since its inception), it developed the first laboratory DNA printer. Based on an enzymatic synthesis technology, which is less restrictive than chemical technology, its system makes it possible to manufacture molecules ten times faster (delivery in 48 to 72 hours). The synthetic DNA market, estimated at 1.5 billion euros, is wide: health, agri-food, textiles, defense… – and not least: Moderna, General Electric, General Directorate of Armaments…


ESG Unicorn 2022 Award: Deepki, Greener Building Specialist

2022 ESG Unicorn Award Credit: R. GAILLARD/REA

This start-up wants to become a reference in the fight against climate change in the real estate sector. Founded in 2014 by two engineers, Vincent Bryant (Insa Lyon, London Business School) and Emmanuel Blanchet (Polytechnique et Ponts et Chaussées), Deepki has developed SaaS software specializing in energy optimization in buildings. Greentech winner in 2016 of the list of awards for start-ups of Challenges, the company (15 million euros of turnover in 2021) held a third fundraising of 150 million euros in March to boost its workers internationally, achieve external growth and expand its teams. The construction sector – 44% of energy consumed and 40% of CO2 emissions in France, according to Ademe – aims at carbon neutrality by 2050. Companies must therefore identify the actions to be taken: insulation, high-performance equipment , controlled consumption management… A 2019 decree predicts that tertiary buildings of more than 1,000 m² must reduce their energy consumption by 40% by 2030.

by Vi. G

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