In 2017, when newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron said, “I want France to be a startup nation,” his detractors used his phrase to mock him. If anything, France was struggling to attract venture capital, with the annual number of investments into startups falling in 2016, lagging both the U.K. and Germany, according to data from Pitchbook. But now, fledgling French companies are raking in investor funds.
“The objective will be met by the end of the year,” billionaire Xavier Niel, a keen investor of the sector, said in an interview. He funds around 100 startups at the seed stage every year through his investment vehicle Kima Ventures. “I think we should be talking about decacorns now,” or companies with valuations over $10 billion.