French Tech: the 10 highlights of 2022

Posted on December 22, 2022 at 10:25 amUpdated 22 Dec. 2022 at 10:26 am

Ten years of France Digitale, closure of Zenly, appointment of a new Minister Delegate for Digital… Overview of the events that marked French Tech in 2022.

5 years of Station F

The famous Parisian incubator celebrated its 5th anniversary last June. A large party was organized for the occasion, where we were able to meet (obviously) Xavier Niel, the originator of this extraordinary project, but also emblematic actors of the ecosystem such as Julie Ranty (who was still a patron of VivaTech) and Maya Noël (director of France Digitale).

This anniversary was an opportunity to take stock: 5,015 start-ups supported (92.4% of which are still in operation), a unicorn (the open source platform Hugging Face), 41% of start-ups founded or co-founded by women … The Parisian incubator has also had its share of difficulties: cessation of events with Covid and slighted partners like Palantir or Total.

The War in the Family

It was one of the driving forces behind the rise of French technology. The Parisian incubator The Family has been in crisis since March 22, when two of the partners (Alice Zagury and Nicolas Colin), through different companies, filed a complaint for abuse of trust, forgery and use of forgery, against Osama Ammar, his former boss, and his personal property, for damages of at least 3 million euros.

Oussama Ammar won a first round, as L’Informé recently revealed. According to the jurisdiction, the various proceedings brought between March and June against the manager and his holdings do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Paris, but of the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.

A pact for more parity in French technology

Parity is always a weakness in French technology. This is why the French Tech mission, in collaboration with French startups, has drawn up a “pact of parity”. This charter brings together five commitments, including a 20% quota for women on boards of directors by 2025 and 40% by 2028, and training all managers in the challenges of diversity and the fight against discrimination and harassment by the end of 2022 .

When the initiative was launched, more than 69 French startups from the FT 120, including 15 unicorns, signed this pact. The 100 mark was crossed a few weeks later.

Closing of Zenly

Snap’s layoff plan, announced in September 2022, hit hard at Zenly, a French startup acquired in 2017 for $300 million. The American group decided to close the geolocation application in February 2023, and the 70 employees, all based in France, are dismissed.

This decision made the French ecosystem react a lot. “You can’t fire so many people without first trying to sell the company to the current founders”, irritated someone close to the company. “It is very sad for Zenly, but the French ecosystem will have some super good engineers and designers. All start-ups are going to uproot them,” said Jean-Charles Samuelian, head of Unicorn Alan.

Launch of the Sista fund

The Sista collective, which aims to reduce the funding gap between technological entrepreneurs, last October launched its own investment fund in partnership with 50 Partners, whose first closing amounted to 30 million euros. End goal: 100 million. To benefit from Sista funding, at least 30% of the start-up’s capitalization table must be owned by a woman.

This vehicle intervenes in priming and series A and injects fines between 250,000 and 3 million euros. Most of the funding goes to French startups (60%), European and some American.

Agricool liquidation

Agricool was placed in receivership on January 31, 2022. Founded in 2015, this start-up offered to grow strawberries, salads and herbs in containers. But, for lack of a viable economic model, it failed to achieve its goals. In 2021, the start-up recorded a turnover of 302 thousand euros.

The company Vif Systems, based in Lyon, finally bought the agrotech for 50,000 euros, following a decision by the commercial court of Bobigny. This company, which designs and installs farms, containers and cupboards for growing plants, was the only one that submitted a takeover offer to take on seven employees out of fifty.

unicorn party in january

January 2022 saw the birth of unicorns galore: Payfit (HR), Ankorstore (marketplace), Spendesk (fintech) and Exotec (industry). All have raised at least $100 million and have had major American funds such as Tiger Global and General Atlantic in their capital. These announcements made it possible to reach Emmanuel Macron’s target of 25 unicorns three years in advance.

Since the second quarter of 2022, it’s not much of a party. “Only” two other startups have achieved unicorn status: Ecovadis (CSR) and Younited. Fintech, specializing in consumer credit, increased its valuation by 45%, a record in these times of scarce funding!

First PSE in French technology

Layoffs don’t just affect American start-ups. The first French start-up to announce a job safeguard plan in 2022 is Meero. The photographers’ liaison platform revealed in December in “Les Echos” the launch of an information and consultation procedure with staff representatives with a view to eliminating 72 jobs in France.

The employees in question are part of the start-up’s tourism and catering activities, which are now abandoned. Meero also announced a change in CEO and focus on developing its photo software.

Doctolib becomes the most valued unicorn of French technology

Last March, the company led by Stanislas Niox-Chateau announced a €500 million funding (including an undisclosed portion of the debt) led by investment funds Eurazeo and Bpifrance.

After this operation, the French unicorn was valued at 5.8 billion. Thus, it beats the Back Market record (5.1 billion), which preceded Qonto (4.4 billion), which had surpassed Sorare (3.7 billion)… It also weighs more than large groups such as ‘Air France- KLM, Casino or M6.

Cédric O is replaced by Jean-Noël Barrot

It was during the second part of the 2022 remodel that French Tech discovered its new minister: Jean-Noël Barrot. This Deputy Modem replaced Cédric O, not as Secretary of State for the Digital Transition but as Deputy Minister. A few months after his arrival, he set a target of 10 French unicorns on the stock exchange by 2025, including two valued at five billion euros.

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