the number of impact startups is increasing dramatically in France

They still represent a big drop in the ocean of 20,000 French Tech startups, but impact startups are making their mark in France. According to the third Mapping of this specific branch of tech carried out by the professional association France Digitale and Bpifrance, 5% of French startups, or 1,074 nuggets, will be impact startups in 2022. That is an increase of 28% in one year (840 ). ” 5% may not be much, but these are only startups that meet at least one of the seventeen sustainable development goals set by the UN for 2030. So it does not take into account businesses that do not enter the within this framework but contributing through their innovation to improve the world “, refers to La Tribune Maya Noël, the director of France Digitale.

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55% act for the benefit of the environment

Use of satellite imagery to control agricultural crops or seismic hazards, management and redistribution of unsold food, analysis of contaminated soils, generation of electricity from salt water, optimization of energy consumption in housing and buildings, wind propulsion system adapted to maritime transport. .

In detail, these almost 1,100 nuggets, 26% of which are labeled B-Corp, employ 30,000 people on a full-time equivalent basis in November 2022. They have also raised 8.3 billion euros since they did , which shows that impact tech is finding more investors to support it, the latter less careful than before to finance less capital-intensive models. . ” If some still oppose the notion of economic growth and impact, they are mistaken. An initiative that is economically viable carries in its model a greater potential for impact because its development will be divine, social and environmental. said Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Innovation at Bpifrance.

Concretely, 55% of them (590) act for the benefit of the Environment, a category that includes greentech, agriculture and food, mobility, sustainable cities, climate, depollution and responsible tourism. 30% (321) act for the benefit of Economy and Development, which includes the circular economy, consumption, support for organizations, industry or sustainable finance. Finally, 15% (163) work in the social sector, ie education and culture, partnership and social relations, professional life and citizenship. In this category we find the smallest “financial” start-ups: almost half of them never raise funds, while nuggets in the field of Environment or Economy , sometimes achieve big fundraisers.

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Successive crises, an opportunity for impact innovators

For its part, France Digitale hopes that this mapping of the impact of the ecosystem in France, organized since 2018 and the emergence of the concept of “tech for good”, will make it possible to direct the change more towards effect. , and will encourage more investors to support better economic models that bring about beneficial long-term changes. Especially since the series of crises in recent years – worsening global warming, health crisis with Covid, geopolitical and economic since the war in Ukraine – led to a need for innovative ideas to respond more immediate to these challenges.

This mapping shows that this ecosystem of startups with a strong social or environmental impact exists, that it is developing, and that these companies can match the impact with the ideas of hyper-growth and scalability which is specific to startups. », continued Maya Noël. A sign of hope: the average age of the startups mapped is only 5 years. Of the 1,074 nuggets referenced, only 82 were produced before 2011, 412 between 2012 and 2017, and 470 since 2018.