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London Tech Week

French ‘soonicorns’ club 2022: Will these tech startups be the next unicorns?

French soonicorns club 2022

Undoubtedly, France is ascending to become one of the coolest hotbeds for European startups. The nation has already produced some of the biggest names in the tech startup ecosystem, including BlaBlaCar, ManoMano, Sorare and more. These tech firms have already put the country on the world map concerning the top 10 tech VC investments in 2021.

And with barely two weeks into 2022, the French tech startup market is whizzing with venture-backed excitement and has announced three unicorns already. Firstly, it was HR tech PayFit, then online marketplace Ankorstore followed by refurbished device marketplace Back Market which became the most valuable startup of the croissant country.

Today at TFN, inspired by the growth trajectory of these sizzling companies, we decided to dig in and take a look at the tech firms in France which could join the unicorn club in 2022. These findings are based on valuations and total funding raised by the companies, data taken from Dealroom.

DNA Script
Image credits: DNA Script

DNA Script

Founder/s: Sylvain Gariel, Thomas Ybert, Xavier Godron
Founded year: 2014
Total funding: $312M

A French life sciences tech startup DNA Script revolutionises DNA synthesis with enzymes. The company has produced innovations in enzyme engineering, surface and nucleotide chemistries, and instrumentation. It has developed SYNTAX, the world’s first benchtop DNA printer powered by enzymatic technology. DNA Script’s enzymatic DNA synthesis technology is poised to become the engine of genomics research and personalised medicine.

The pioneer in Enzymatic DNA Synthesis (EDS) for on-demand DNA printing is now valued at $825 million after it completed its Series C funding round of $200 million earlier this month. It intends to use the funds to advance its SYNTAX Platform, which is its first commercial product powered by its proprietary EDS technology.

Image credits: Scality


Founder/s: Jérôme Lecat, Giorgio Regni, Daniel Binsfeld, Serge Dugas, Brad King.
Founded year: 2009
Total funding: $155M

It has become a necessity to manage data at a massive scale, Scality has built a storage and data management ecosystem to protect and propel its customers into the digital age. Its storage unifies data management from edge to core to cloud. Its file and object storage software protects data on-premises and in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Scality solutions are trusted by the world’s largest banks, healthcare providers, media companies, transportation, telco and cloud service providers.

Last year, Scality bagged $20 million in new funding round, which took its valuation to $320 million. It was announced that the new financing gives it the push it needs to continue on its long-term, rapid growth curve.

Image credits: InnovaFeed


Founder/s: Aude Guo, Bastien Oggeri, Clément Ray, Guillaume Gras, Yann Grierson
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $225M

A biotech startup, InnovaFeed is involved in the production of a new source of protein from insect rearing for animal feed and aquaculture. The company places insects at the heart of its agri-food system and its insect rearing process is deployed on an industrial scale in order to resolve the strain on natural resources and the necessity for a more responsive and sustainable way.

In 2020, InnovaFeed announced that it closed a funding round of $166 million to accelerate its expansion strategy, both domestic and international and build a US facility along with ADM. With this, the valuation of the company is now $924 million.

Image credits: Ornikar


Founder/s: Flavien Le Rendu, Benjamin Gaignault
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $171M

Ornikar is an online driving school that also offers driving license tests training. The online training platform for the preparation of the highway code exam and driving lessons given by state-certified teachers helps to prepare you for the practical test of the driving license. It also supports you in all the administrative procedures to take your exams. It was set up with the intention to bring a new approach to driver education and road safety.

In April 2021, Ornikar picked up $120 million in a Series C funding round led by KKR along with other investors. This round took the valuation of the company to $750 million. It was used to accelerate its mission to become a global leader in road safety.

Image credits: OpenClassrooms


Founder/s: Mathieu Nebra, Pierre Dubuc
Founded year: 2013
Total funding: $149M

Edtech platform OpenClassrooms covers various fields such as web development, digital marketing, HR and sales. These demanding sectors can take as much as six to 12 months of full-time work to complete a training program. The platform has teamed up with mentors to help users remain motivated and also guarantees that they get a job.

In April 2021, the edtech startup nabbed $80 million in a Series C funding round led by Lumos Capital Group along with participation from others. With this, OpenClassrooms grabbed a valuation of $480 million.

Image credits: Ÿnsect


Founder/s: Alexis Angot, Antoine Hubert, Fabrice Berro, Jean-Gabriel Levon
Founded year: 2011
Total funding: $264M

Another insect breeding startup, Ÿnsect is known for transforming insects into premium ingredients for plant and animal nutrition. The company develops a more sustainable alternative of protein sources including soy, which takes up large amounts of soil, land, and water resources to produce.

In October 2020, the startup farming insects to improve food production raised $224 million in additional funding, which brings its Series C round to $372 million. Also, its valuation reached $625 million with this round.

Image credits: Spendesk


Founder/s: Jordane Giuly, Rodolphe Ardant, Guilhem Bellion
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $177M

A smart spend management software designed for both finance teams and employees, Spendesk deploys a tool to help companies save time on spend management. The SaaS spend management solution provides full visibility and control on all spending activities by tracking every transaction to a person, project and budget.

In July last year, the all-in-one spend management platform secured €100 million in a Series C funding round, which has increased its valuation to $660 million.

Image credits: Pigment


Founder/s: Eléonore Crespo, Romain Niccoli
Founded year: 2019
Total funding: $99M

Pigment is a startup that claims itself to be the “Minecraft” of business planning software. Pigment claims to overhaul the painful experience of using error-prone spreadsheets and inflexible software to forecast the future of business. The platform lets leaders and analysts to understand all of their business data better and anticipate the impact of their decisions with speed and flexibility.

The company picked up $73 million in a Series B investment round back in November 2021 and raised its valuation to $438 million. It was announced that the proceeds from this round will help Pigment to hire employees, increase resources to meet the massive demand from clients, and to expand their footprint in the US and European markets.

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