When we think of technological innovation, we don’t usually think of Paris, or France for that matter. But maybe we should. Here are 10 reasons why. The top 10 most funded startups in France in 2014 include a host of fascinating startups who have raised a combined total of more than $270 million last year.
It’s worth noting that of these top 10 French startups, 7 are based in or just outside Paris, thus confirming the city’s centrality in terms of tech innovation in the country.
French car-sharing company BlaBlaCar, based in Paris, leads the list of the most funded startups in France. It raised $100 million in a Series C funding round in July from investors like Accel Partners, Index Ventrures, Isai, and Lead Edge Capital. Focused on connecting drivers with empty seats and paying passengers, the startup is working to drive a revolution in transport. This is a space that is increasingly hot as BlaBlaCar sees increasing competition from companies like Uber, GetTaxi, and Lyft.
Leosphere, another Paris based startup, comes in at second place on the list with a total fundraising of $43 million in 2014. This is a different kind of startup to those most people are commonly used to. They manufacture and market optoelectronic devices (a technical word for electronic devices that convert light into electric energy or electric energy into light). It’s businesses like these that will be best positioned to take advantage of the surge in nascent innovation fields like CleanTech.
We need to go all the way down to fifth place among the 10 most funded startups in France in 2014 before we find one that isn’t based in Paris. This business is called SigFox, which is located in Labège in the South of France near Toulouse.This Internet of Things startup raised $21 million last year but has already raised an additional $115 million in February 2015. Innovation in the IoT space is rapidly accelerating so keep an eye on it.
France, or rather Paris, is increasingly becoming a global hub for technology innovation. If you weren’t convinced of that before, you should be by now. The startups based in France are playing a growing role in regional as well as global innovation as well as in the tech industry as a whole.