French deeptech: unprecedented creations and financing in 2021

French deeptech startups specializing in disruptive innovations are on the rise in 2021. Three years after the launch of a government plan, Bpifrance takes stock of the sector's development in France.

Substantial resources at the service of French deeptech

Launched in 2019, the €3 billion Deeptech Plan aimed to turn France into a veritable breeding ground for disruptive start-ups using disruptive technologies. In a recently published report, Bpifrance gives an initial 3-year assessment of the Deeptech Plan.

In 2021, French deeptech startups are up 26% on 2020, with 250 new startups.

The Deeptech Plan has 3 objectives:

  • promote the creation of new deeptech startups, at a rate of 500 per year ;
  • mobilize substantial resources to support the growth and development of these start-ups;
  • and " energize innovation ecosystems ", says Bpifrance in a press release.

According to Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Innovation at Bpifrance, " all the indicators for Deeptech are green, with an unprecedented mobilization of ecosystem players across the entire continuum to bring about, finance and support the projects of the entrepreneurs who are building tomorrow's France today ".

In addition, the France 2030 investment plan, which aims to develop France's technological skills in a number of strategic sectors, such as energy, space, aeronautics and automotive, will further strengthen the resources available to deeptech.

French deeptech: a target of 10 unicorns by 2025

In 2021, 553 deeptech startups benefited from Bpifrance's financing programs. In total, 90% of French deeptechs have already benefited from innovation aid from the public bank. The amounts awarded have risen considerably, by 80% in one year.

According to Bpifrance estimates, the target of 500 new deeptech start-ups per year should be reached by 2024, if current momentum continues. Of the 250 deeptechs created in 2021, 40% are specialized in the healthcare sector, and 20% in industry.

43% of doctoral students say they are " ready to create their own start-up ", and 70% of their supervisors " would like their institutions to provide more incentives for entrepreneurship ".

In 2021, French deeptech companies raised €2.3 billion, representing a 90% increase in one year. Bpifrance plays a major role in financing these startups, " intervening directly or indirectly in 70% of fundraising since 2019 ".

Last year, the public bank invested 375 million euros directly, to which was added 401 million euros in indirect financing via Deeptech investment funds.

France currently boasts 5 deeptech unicorns, the most recent of which is Exotec, specialized in industrial robotics. Bpifrance hopes to see this number double by 2025. The France 2030 investment plan should help achieve this goal.