Technology The word eco. Unicorns, those companies valued at a billion dollars

The word eco. Unicorns, those companies valued at a billion dollars

14 “Licorne” companies in France against 280 in the United States and 130 in China. (Illustration) (GETTY IMAGES / WESTEND61)

The Vivatech fair, Porte de Versailles in Paris, after three days reserved for professionals is open today only Saturday, June 19, to the general public. The opportunity to discover the latest technological innovations. It is the meeting place for the world of French Tech, that of startups and therefore perhaps of the unicorns of tomorrow.

franceinfo: What exactly is a unicorn? A relationship with the imaginary animal?

Isabelle Raymond: Yes in tech, everyone dreams of becoming Facebook. But not all tech startups become GAFAs. Like the imaginary animal, the startup that becomes a large, viable and solid company is a rarity. And the unicorn represents all this, this objective become reality: it is a non-IPO tech company valued at $ 1 billion, or a little over 830,000 euros.

How many are there in France?

There are 14 in France against 280 in the United States (the country which invented this business model in Silicon Valley), 130 in China and around thirty in India and the United Kingdom. So in France, we are still small, but the movement is accelerating with three entries in this very closed club in just a few months. And among the most famous unicorns, we find Blablacar, Vestiaire Collective, or even Doctolib.

Is the startup nation dear to Emmanuelle Macron more than a slogan?

What is certain is that Emmanuel Macron is an excellent promoter of French Tech. The president also often organizes summits entitled “Tech For Good”, he popularized the French Tech label abroad. And then beyond the image, there is a whole ecosystem favorable to the emergence of young shoots in France: with incubators in large cities and grandes écoles, renowned business angels who open their portfolio to startups. and their address book like Xavier Niel, the boss of Free. And then also, public financing, it is a French particularity, with the BPI in particular, the public investment bank which puts money in the young companies of the tech.

And what happens to the unicorns?

So already to move from the start-up stage to that of the unicorn, you have to have grown, attracted capital, raised several funds, changed scale, hired, attracted private investors and clients, have basically demonstrated that the original idea was not crazy, and that we had moved from the project to the company.

When we enter the very closed club of unicorns, we gain in media coverage, in visibility. Then, most often, the unicorns are bought by companies bigger than themselves, or they go public. Thus, one of the oldest French unicorns, OVH, the tricolor cloud champion, is preparing for its IPO.

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