Top French Startups of 2024, According to the Government


Countries can support their tech industries in various ways. In France, this involves selecting a yearly cohort of 120 high-potential startups — the French Tech 120 — which includes 40 private companies identified as the most promising, known as the Next40.

This year, during VivaTech week in Paris, Marina Ferrari, the French Secretary of State for the Digital Economy, announced the laureates. According to its promoters, this fifth class was the most selective since the program started.

Launched in 2019, the French Tech Next40/120 program has evolved, especially as some unicorns failed to meet expectations. Based on insider recommendations, selection criteria have shifted, with half now based on revenue metrics instead of fundraising.

Consequently, only 28 of the 2024 French Tech 120 have valuations over $1 billion. However, La French Tech states that collectively, the cohort had a net revenue of €10 billion in 2023, up from €7.5 billion in 2022. Thirty-one companies reported net revenues exceeding €100 million.

This cohort reflects trends such as the rise of deep tech and AI in France. Notably, some new Next40 laureates are expected to go public and provide much-needed liquidity for venture capital.

Here’s the class of 2024 in one image:

French Tech Next 40/120, class of 2024

For more details, let’s focus on newcomers.

Welcome to the Club(s)

Here are the companies that joined the Next40 list:

  • AddGuests, the parent company of BungalowSpecials and, which joined the French Tech 120 in 2023;
  • ChapsVision, a specialist in sovereign data processing;
  • Ekwateur, a renewable energy provider that raised a mix of venture capital and crowdfunding;
  • Equativ, an adtech company formerly known as Smart AdServer;
  • ilek, another green energy supplier;
  • Malt, a freelancer marketplace active in multiple European countries, including the U.K;
  • Mistertemp’, an online temporary work agency;
  • Mistral AI, an AI company with rapidly increasing valuation;
  • Pennylane, an accounting software company that hit unicorn status in February;
  • Qair Group, another renewable energy company;
  • Weezevent, a ticketing platform founded in 2008.

It is notable to see Mistral AI joining the same list as long-established Weezevent. Despite being only a year old, Mistral AI has quickly become one of France’s most promising companies.

Though the “Next40” alludes to future IPO candidates, it’s uncertain which will go public and when. Euronext’s new listings dropped significantly from 212 in 2021 to 64 in 2023.

Other new entrants in the FrenchTech 120 include Adagio, AQEMIA, Braincube, Comet, DriiveMe, Ekimetrics, Exotrail, Flowdesk, Foodles, Greenly, HappyVore, Hoppen, iSupplier, La Fourche, Madbox, Moon Surgical, Mooncard, mylight150, Opteamis, Pasqal, PerfectStay, Planity, Shares, SiPearl, Swan, Umiami, Unseenlabs, Volta Medical, WAAT, WeMaintain, and Worldia.

None of these are unicorns yet. Investment in French startups fell sharply last year, from €13.49 billion in 2022 to €8.32 billion. Green tech, which secured €2.7 billion in funding, represents the largest cohort in this year’s French Tech 120.

The French Tech 120 encompasses a variety of sectors, including fintech and space tech, but notable trends are evident.

For the first time, applicants were required to commit to gender equality and ecological transition, possibly giving more weight to green tech companies, which account for 30% of the 2024 class.

AI is another sector where French startups have attracted significant investment, even at the seed stage. The French government aims to support this trend. The Next40 includes AI companies like Mistral AI, pharmatech AQEMIA, and quantum computing startup Pasqal.

Deep tech also features prominently, representing 23% of the 120 companies. This aligns with the rise of deep tech in Europe, buoyed by public funding.

The French Tech Next40/120 program offers various perks, although there’s no direct funding involved. The main benefit is a reduction in bureaucratic hurdles, which could help companies grow. The program’s impact is evident as 88% of the new class have international operations or significant commercial activity abroad in 2024.

Being part of this list enhances international visibility and can open doors domestically. The “Je Choisis la French Tech” initiative encourages public administrations and large corporations to procure solutions from French startups, offering tangible benefits beyond simply achieving unicorn status.

Anna Heim
Anna Heim
Anna is a freelance reporter, exploring SaaS and more. Former LATAM & Media Editor at The Next Web, startup founder and Sciences Po Paris alum.

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