2021 was not really the year of all records for French Tech. The mega rounds have multiplied, the cap of 10 billion collected in total was broken, foreign funds arrived massively… But the indicators of the start were not green. According to the Eurazeo report “The state of the French ecosystem”, the number of seed rounds was stable in 2021 (227 operations against 230 in 2020) while that in series A increased by 11% and that in series B increased by 15%.
The amounts collected at this stage of investment have even dropped: 326 million in 2021, compared to 381 million the previous year. Conversely, series A fundraising reached 1.2 billion in 2021 versus 778 million in 2020, an increase of 54%. Those in Series B have jumped 150%.
Bpifrance still active in seed
However, efforts have been made to strengthen these investments which occur a few months after the creation of a start-up. Bpifrance, which is celebrating ten years of its Digital Venture activity (seed, series A and B), has focused in recent years on seed financing.
His latest fund, Digital Venture Seed (70 million euros) was launched in 2020 for this type of investment. “Explosive market growth figures mask weaker growth in seed stages. This is why we want to remain very active, especially in seed and series A,” says Véronique Jacq, director of Digital Venture at bpifrance.
Venture capital funds, historically focused on later stages in the life of a start-up, have recently slipped on seed. This is the case of Raise Ventures, which unveiled “Seed for Good” last January, a vehicle that will inject tickets into young projects that improve their societal and environmental impacts.
“We saw an opportunity to position ourselves in this segment because there are a lot of very good files. And we’re lucky to have a natural inbound flow at Raise. We are very well established in the world of start-ups”, explained to “Echos” Pierre-Edouard Berion, co-head of Raise Ventures. Seed for Good has already raised 40 million euros for a target size of 80 million euros and around thirty investments.
The Galion Project, a collective of French tech entrepreneurs, launched on March 17 an investment fund whose tickets are between 1 and 4 million euros. His particuliarity ? It is owned by more than 250 entrepreneurs. The founders of start-ups are increasingly wearing a business angel hat.
“We are seeing more and more family offices of start-up owners, club deals and scouts [une personne qui investît des petits tickets pour le compte d’un fonds, NDLR] “, underlines Alexandre Berriche, business angel and “scout” for the famous American fund Sequoia Capital. But will this structuring of the ecosystem have a positive effect on priming? “The founding teams who are in their second or third box will continue to be financed easily in seed because they have the network. For many others, it will remain complicated, ”said the investor.