Last year, the French government and the government-backed initiative La French Tech unveiled an index of French startups so that it would be easier to identify them. The 40 top-performing startups get the label Next40, and the top 120 startups are grouped into the French Tech 120 — it’s a play on words with the CAC40 and SBF 120 stock indexes.
Here’s a list of the 40 private companies in this year’s Next40:
But creating a club without perks would be a bit useless. That’s why you get some perks as a member of the Next40 and French Tech 120. Those companies automatically access a fast-track administrative system — every startup gets a representative for their particular needs.
If you’re facing administrative issues, such as getting visas for foreign employees, getting a certification or a patent or selling your product to a public administration, you can more easily find the right person that can solve your issue.
“The coolest thing is that they can ask us for anything: ‘I’m about to do bizdev in China,’ ‘I’m launching a rocket and I need to test it on a space facility’ or ‘I’m hiring 50 people and I need them and all their families here,’ ” La French Tech director Kat Borlongan told me last year.
Now, the government is working on refreshing the index. And in order to do that, you’ll have to apply and match the exact same criteria as last year.
Once you have proven that you’re an independent French startup, there are two different ways to get accepted in the Next40:
- If you have raised more than €100 million over the past three years or if your company has a valuation of $1 billion or more, you’re automatically part of the Next40.
- If you’ve closed “one of the most important funding rounds of the past three years” and you generate more than €5 million in revenue with a year-over-year growth rate of 30% or more for the past three years.
As for the remaining 80 startups in the French Tech 120:
- 40 of them will be selected if they have raised more than €20 million in a funding round over the past three years.
- 40 of them will be selected based on the annual turnover and the growth rate.
Some companies in the Next40 will remain in the index, others will leave the index. And the government is fine with that.
“In the coming years, some companies will shut down, others will get acquired by French and foreign companies. It’s normal and healthy,” France’s digital minister Cédric O said in a press briefing.
There are two new things that are worth highlighting. First, the government has signed a partnership with Euronext to educate entrepreneurs about going public. There are few public French tech companies, and the government hopes it can reverse this trend.
Second, in January 2021, the government will also select 20 greentech startups so they can access the same fast-track programs. It is going to be a separate list.