the number of impact startups is growing sharply in France

They still represent just a big drop in the ocean of France’s 20,000 tech startups, but impact startups are making their mark in France. According to the third mapping of this particular branch of technology carried out by the professional association France Digitale and Bpifrance, in 2022 5% of French startups, or 1,074 nuggets, are impact startups. This is a 28% increase in one year (840). ” The 5% may seem little, but these are only startups that meet at least one of the seventeen sustainable development goals set by the UN for 2030. This therefore does not take into account the companies that do not enter this framework but that contribute through the their innovation to improve the world “, Explains Noël, director of France Digitale, with La Tribune Maya.

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55% works to the benefit of the environment

Use of satellite images for the control of agricultural crops or seismic risks, management and redistribution of unsold food, analysis of polluted soils, production of electricity from salt water, optimization of energy consumption in homes and buildings, adapted wind propulsion system to maritime transport …

In detail, these nearly 1,100 nuggets, 26% of which are labeled as B-Corp, employ 30,000 full-time people as of November 2022. They have also raised 8.3 billion euros since their creation, which shows that the technology impact is finding more and more investors to support it, the latter less cautious than before in financing less capital-intensive models. ” If some still oppose the notion of economic growth and impact, they are wrong. An economically viable initiative brings in its model a much greater potential for impact because its development will also be virtuous, socially and environmentally. says Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Innovation at Bpifrance.

Specifically, 55% of them (590) act in favor of the Environment, a category that includes greentech, agriculture and food, mobility, sustainable cities, climate, clean-up and responsible tourism. 30% (321) acts for the benefit of the Economy and Development, which includes the circular economy, consumption, support for organizations, industry or sustainable finance. Finally, 15% (163) work in the social sector, i.e. education and culture, inclusion and social ties, professional life and citizenship. It is in this category that we find the least “financial” start-ups: almost half of them have never raised funds, while the nuggets in the Environment or Economy field have sometimes carried out large fundraisers.

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The succession of crises, an opportunity for impactful innovators

For its part, France Digitale hopes that this mapping of the impact ecosystem in France, structured since 2018 and the emergence of the “tech for good” concept, will allow it to further direct innovation towards impact. , and will encourage more investors to support more virtuous economic models that lead to profitable long-term transformations. Especially since the succession of crises in recent years – the worsening of global warming, the health crisis with Covid, the geopolitical and economic ones from the war in Ukraine – lead to the need for innovations to respond even more urgently to these challenges.

This mapping shows that this startup ecosystem with a strong social or environmental impact exists, is developing and that these companies can reconcile the impact with startup-specific notions of hyper-growth and scalability. », Maya Noël continues. A sign of hope: the average age of the mapped startups is only 5 years. Of the 1,074 nuggets mentioned, only 82 were created before 2011, 412 between 2012 and 2017, and 470 from 2018.