In Macron, five more years for “Start-up Nation”


With the relentless support shown for France’s digital ecosystem, Emmanuel Macron, starting his second five -year term at the Élysée, has been able to keep the flame alive among French businessmen. However, big challenges await …

From his visit to CES in Las Vegas in January 2016, when he was Minister of the Economy under the presidency of François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron has become a darling of French Tech. With particularly liberal speech and great support for the French digital ecosystem, the Head of State, starting his second five -year term at the Elysée, has won the hearts of French businessmen.

It’s been enough to go to LinkedIn in recent weeks to realize this. In the days before the first round of the presidential election, and even more so before the second round, many businessmen more or less explicitly called for a vote for Emmanuel Macron. It must be said that for five years, the President of the Republic has multiplied initiatives in favor of French Tech.

A wink of luck, he began his first five -year term with the inauguration of Station F, “Temple of the Start-up Nation” which can accommodate young shoots at 34,000 m² of Freyssinet hall. Subsequently, his government has identified itself by putting in place several mechanisms to support the development of start-ups, such as the Next 40 and French Tech 120 indices. This allows companies to be selected. to benefit from a support program, launched for the first time in 2019 and led by the French Tech Mission, that aims to make the nuggets of the digital ecosystem world-class champions.

The Next 40 and French Tech 120 indices are part of the support arsenal deployed by the executive since the French Tech label was created in 2014, along with other systems such as the French Tech Visa to facilitate the recruitment of foreign talent . . Because if Emmanuel Macron is to be considered president of the “Start-up Nation”, it is under the mandate of François Hollande that the current dynamics of the ecosystem begin to engage. The then Socialist President’s Minister of Economy wanted to amplify the phenomenon by drawing inspiration from Israel and Silicon Valley, world references to digital innovation.

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France’s 2030 plan for “reconciling start-ups and industry”

But this change must now be industrial for Emmanuel Macron. Now that French Tech is in full swing, as evidenced by the 11.6 billion euros raised in 2021 by French start-ups, against 5.4 billion in 2020 and less than 2 billion in 2016, it will be a question of whether its flaws are correct. . Because if France now has more than 25 unicorns, start-ups worth more than 1 billion dollars, only one is industrial: Exotec, a supplier of robotic solutions for warehouses.

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The foundations of Emmanuel Macron’s second five -year term were also laid before the presidential election, with the presentation in October 2021 of France’s 2030 plan for “reconciling start-ups and industry”. “If we don’t re-industrialize the country, we will never again be a country of innovation and research”, warned the Head of State. As part of this plan to mobilize 30 billion euros over five years, a 2.3 billion envelope is aimed at eliminating French industrial start-ups.

The issue is really important for France, which currently has only 1,500 industrial start-ups, representing only 12% of the total young French technological shoot. This is more or less the current weight of industry in French GDP (13%), when this primary sector weighs 22% of the German economy. Therefore, it is urgent for France to react, while a report on the development levers of start-ups in the stage of industrialization, submitted to the government in September 2021 by the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Council of France. economy, has highlighted some shortcomings, especially in terms of funding.

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According to estimates of impact report done by firm Roland Berger at French Tech Next 40/120, the 15 major industrial start-ups could create 3,000 jobs by 2025 and up to 10,000 by 2030. The job is remains immense, but Cédric O, Secretary of State in charge of Digital Transition and Electronic Communications (on departure), was enthusiastic when he announced the new French Tech Next 40/120 class in February: “What we are seeing is the renewal of the French textile industry. Start-ups are our life insurance. Long live the Start-up Nation!”

Two-speed digital sovereignty

However, as the government has continued to promote French Tech and expressed its desire to implement digital sovereignty over the past five years, the headwind has sometimes blurred the executive’s message. The symbol of these contradictions, the choice to entrust Microsoft with hosting data from Health Data Hub, a French health data platform for research, has generated tensions.

So the government preferred to include the services of the North American giant, rather than the services of the French company OVHcloud, which clearly did not appreciate this decision. In addition, the State Council considers there is a risk of data transfer to the United States … Similarly, Bpifrance, which mainly supplies French start-ups, was chosen by the Senate after Amazon chose to provide of data management. for state-guaranteed loan (PGE) set at the beginning of the health crisis. In this context, digital sovereignty has changed.

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On the other hand, digital sovereignty on a European scale has been strengthened in recent weeks with the enactment of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) to better control technological giants. But France is no stranger to this new legislative arsenal. In January 2022, Emmanuel Macron expressed his desire to reach a final agreement on these two texts before the end of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union (PFUE). It’s done now.

In our interview with Cédric O last March, the Secretary of State praised these new laws. “The DMA is probably the most important economic law since American texts in the late 20th century and early 21st century. And the DSA is extremely important because it draws lessons from the lack of regulation in information space. In the DSA and DMA, in addition to the GDPR, we are laying the foundations for a relatively European model of change ”he assured.

I set us the goal to release 100 French unicorns and 10 European giants by 2030.

Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic

It is within this European framework that Emmanuel Macron wants to believe in the emergence of European and French alternatives to current digital giants, whether American or Chinese. “The last five years have allowed the game to reopen, but it’s still not enough. The world economy, as well as our daily consumption is almost exclusively dominated by Anglo-Saxon or Chinese companies. This which is why I set the goal for us, by 2030, to release 100 French unicorns and 10 European giants ”proclaimed the President of the Republic in an interview given at The Great Whalemedia that specializes in cryptocurrencies.

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So that the most promising French start-ups (Doctolib, BlaBlaCar, Qonto, Back Market, Sorare, etc.) can develop and acquire large scale that allows them to compete on a global scale, Emmanuel Macron wants to look they immediately across the French market. “We really have champions. But the difference between China and the United States is that France is not Europe. The United States is a market of nearly 400 million people, and China is a market of 1 billion people. France is a market of 65 million inhabitants. If we want to make champions, the domestic market must immediately become the European Union market ”explanation of the re -elected president in the traditional debate between the two rounds of the presidential election.

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Moving from Next 40 to CAC 40

Europe should also be the stock market destination of choice for start-ups from the Old Continent in front of Wall Street, taking nuggets like Contentsquare. Because it is by multiplying the IPOs of its start-ups in their territory that France and Europe will be able to change the dimension. It’s no coincidence that the index of companies with high technology potential is called the Next 40. It should really serve as a springboard to CAC 40 for French start-ups. Believe me, OVHcloud and Deezer took the first step in this direction by opting for an IPO on the Paris Stock Exchange. From now on, the government’s goal-subject to gaining a majority in the National Assembly in June-is to advance a French Tech start-up to CAC 40 in 2025.

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According to Xavier Lazarus, head of funding for Elaia, this ambition is legitimate. “You have to remember that CAC 40 is an index that reflects the health of the stock market, but it is also a form of economic health for companies. Companies need to be solid, and that could take a year longer than valuation. .However, here we are.It may not be in two years, but in four years.We will have companies with size, results, prediction and visibility that go below CAC 40, in the first half, which is about 10 billion euros, not yet between 80 and 100 billion euros. I don’t think we’re too far from here “he said to Digital at the beginning of the year.

After more than 25 French start-ups have become unicorns in recent years, shipping at least as much on the Paris Stock Exchange in the next few years will be a sign of a more mature French Tech ecosystem. It is up to Emmanuel Macron to create the perfect conditions for this to happen, against a backdrop of digital sovereignty and new digital revolutions. “Web3 and the metaverse may represent a new era of the web as we know it. My goal is for Europe to become a central player, unlike what has happened today”assured the Head of State to the media The Great Whale. This will be one of the challenges that must be faced to advance French tech.

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