Earlier this year, the government wanted to bring together technology investors within French Tech Finance Partners (FTFP). A new body, presented by Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Transition, created to allow them to have “a structured dialogue” with each other and with the government. The objective is to identify the obstacles to business financing in France and the means to increase them.
French Tech Finance Partners brings together sixteen members, in equal numbers, present in all stages of financing and in all sectors. Among them, Orange Ventures, Euronext, Partech or even EQT Ventures, banks, but also associations and organizations such as France Invest and France Digitale.
Investors too focused on Paris and not enough on deeptech
The first meeting took place on January 3. It made it possible to define the workplaces. The first thing is to try to solve the problem of a very (too) concentrated financing fabric in the capital. “There are cities like Bordeaux, Marseille, Lille or even Lyon, which have managed to build an ecosystem of active investors, but there is still a delay in maturity compared to Paris. We must take them beyond the ring road of all major cities”explains Maya Noël, general manager of France Digitale, an association of start-ups and investors that is part of the FTFP.
“This is an observation we have made for a long time, which led us to create the France Digitale Tour six years ago: we travel with investors to different regions of France”she adds.
Second theme the FTFP will work on: deeptech, a sector where there are fewer financiers because it requires a lot of start-up capital, in particular due to the long R&D times to finance.
Also on the agenda is a reflection on how France can become even more attractive to foreign investors. “The government’s Mission French Tech initiative has made it possible to work on the French Tech brand image and has contributed to giving French start-ups more visibility and legitimacy internationally. From a regulatory or legislative point of view, the question is: how to control foreign investment without slowing it down?.
The Next40 criteria, very focused on fundraising
Last project, which will be one of France Digitale’s workhorses: reformulating the Next40 and French Tech 120 criteria. At this point, the association has very concrete proposals. At the time of the “madness of the unicorns”, she had denounced, in a forum, criteria that were too focused on the resources raised and insufficient for the billing and jobs generated.
FTFP members had until this week to decide which topics they would like to contribute to. His work and early proposals are expected to be returned to the government in the spring.
How could the government take concrete action? Maya Noël is thinking about the 2019 government (or even presidential) initiative. Emmanuel Macron went to negotiate directly with institutional investment funds, which thus injected 6 billion euros in risk capital. “It was very positive, but very focused on growth because we realized that investments were lower in this segment. This created a small eviction effect on the early stage part. We would like to see a new initiative of this kind launched, but this time the money must be well distributed. Arrow in deeptech could also be interesting”she continues.
A superfluous initiative?
On condition of anonymity, some members denounced the gallery “a futile initiative that runs the risk of weakening the intermediary bodies”. A criticism that Maya Noël, general manager of France Digitale, understands. “This body formalizes work that we have been doing for years. There are around ten funds at the table, we are working with around a hundred investors. do the job twice. I’m not afraid of a weakening of the intermediate bodies, but they must continue to be recognized for the raw material and all the work they bring in parallel to this body”.
The important thing, according to her, is to guarantee that the budgetary pockets destined to the financing of the companies are made in an intelligent way so as not to break the financing chain. There must be business angels that accompany entrepreneurs in the creation, institutional funds that arrive at the seed stage, then investors in series A, B, C, growth, potential exits and IPOs…”That is why there is interest in bringing together financial partners. The French Tech Finance Partners will allow us to work collectively and intelligently in this finance chain.”
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