A rapidly growing fintech hub
The French start-up ecosystem has developed massively in recent years, with Paris leading the way. According to data from PitchBook, French start ups received €10.8bn in capital investment in 2021, compared with €2.5bn in 2017, illustrating the blockbuster growth the country has achieved. While in the past Paris has not been able to reach the levels of fintech success realised by global fintech centres like New York or London, this is quickly changing.
Some of the areas in which France excels are blockchain, Web3, AI and crypto start ups. From France Fintech and Binance creating a €100 million initiative to foster the development of the French blockchain and cryptocurrency space, to it being one of the top three countries for blockchain talent; it’s no surprise this Gallic nation is finding positive results in innovative fintech areas.
Ranking as Europe’s third biggest fintech hub, overtaking countries such as Sweden, at the latest count France now has more than 1,200 fintechs in its ecosystem.
A French Unicorn boom
Just a few years ago, only a handful of unicorns called France home, with dozens now being part of the country’s ecosystem. French credit provider fintech Younited is a recent example of the good fortune being enjoyed by start ups in France. The Paris headquartered firm raised €60 million in December 2022 to reach a €1.1 billion valuation, entering the exclusive unicorn club.
Neobank Qonto is another Paris startup success story, having gained €486 million in funding last year to be valued at €4.4 billion. Paris-based AI SaaS provider also joined the unicorn ranks in 2021 after securing $220 million in a Series D investment round.
Commenting on the Parisian stop of Fintech Talents’ upcoming Road Trip, Jeff Parker, Managing Director of Marqeta International, said there was much to learn from the French fintech scene.
“I’m extremely excited about meeting innovators in Paris this April. Marqeta’s experience with our valued French partners in recent years has shown us what amazing talent and ingenuity exists across France, with propositions transforming home markets and showing incredible potential to scale globally.
“I’ll be talking to leaders from the likes of Bankable, Rakuten, Skaleet, Visa and more to gain fresh insights into the French approach and with a view to building collaborative friendships that benefit businesses and consumers. There’s no doubt that the Paris leg of the Fintech Talents Road Trip is going to be a memorable event and will open up opportunities for both delegates and speakers.”
A concerted plan by the French government to develop the start up ecosystem in the country has paid off. In a bid to attract innovative start-ups from other nations, particularly post-Brexit Britain, an updated Start up Employee Visa was launched and the world’s largest tech start up campus, Station F, is helping support the creation of French unicorns.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been a major supporter of the country’s tech sector and said last year that he hopes France can create at least 100 unicorns by 2030, a lofty goal by any measure. The Tibi initiative launched by the French government in 2020 is playing a major part in the strategy to boost the nation’s tech space, with more than €3.5 billion being invested in start ups through this scheme.
There’s no question that Paris has a way to go before it overtakes London as the European fintech capital. But it’s clear that the city has all the right ingredients to continue its rapid growth in the coming years.
Join the Fintech Talents Team for our first European Road Trip as we stop off in three exciting fintech hubs in France, Sweden, and Germany.
The first stop is Paris, a centre of innovation in financial services in France. More than 45 speakers and 100-plus C-Level attendees will be building connections during the visit. Early application for spaces is highly advised.