Written by 2:04 pm Country Spotlights, Hacks

Unveiling the French Startup Ecosystem: 20 Key Players You Need to Know

From the exciting Viva Technology to the buzzing co-working Station F, the French startup ecosystem is a promising hub for budding entrepreneurs. From VCs, to accelerators and events, we’ve compiled 20 players not to miss.

By SWB Team 

Co-working Spaces

1. Station F 

Launched in 2017, Station F offers the world’s largest startup campus is situated on the banks of the Seine. Backed by Xavier Niel and run by Roxanne Varza, this startup superhub offers entrepreneurs and startups access to a variety of incubators and programs, top-notch events, and coworking space. In addition, the space offers a makerspace, restaurant, kitchens, a café, and a bar. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have already set up shop inside.

Backed by Xavier Niel and run by Roxanne Varza, this startup superhub offers entrepreneurs and startups access to a variety of incubators and programs, top-notch events, and coworking space. In addition, the space offers a makerspace, restaurant, kitchens, a café, and a bar. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have already set up shop inside.

2. Numa 

NUMA offers coworking space, community events, startup acceleration, and innovation programs for corporates. For example, Nike, Allianz and the Municipality of Paris have taken part in their programs, which focus on 6 main areas: design thinking / UX, management, intrapreneurship, marketing and sales. With over 350 mentors, 400 events per year and 1500m² dedicated to innovation, NUMA is Paris’s innovation hub.

3. Deskopolitan

Situated in a beautiful industrial building and spread across four floors and 4,430 sq ft, Deskopolitan offers startups and small businesses a creative and flexible workspace in central Paris. An additional plus is the cafe, artist studio, health & beauty suites, phone booths, personal lockers, an external courtyard and pockets of greenery inside. The best thing: The café by Beans on Fire.

Incubators and accelerators

4. 104 Factory – 104 factory is an accelerator for startups working in the field of artistic, cultural and creative industries. Besides the regular services, a space for exceptional experimentation, a “living lab” that will enable them to test in actual conditions their prototypes in interaction with the public as well as cooperating with artists through their residency programs. 

Starburst – Starburst is the world’s first and only global aerospace startup accelerator/incubator, with offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Montreal, São Paulo, San Francisco and Singapore. It helps startups scale their business in aerospace, aviation and defense industries by providing a $120,000 investment and the opportunity to work with mentors who have space technology experience.

Atelier BNP Paribas – Fintech Boost is a four-month intensive acceleration program that connects fintech startups which would have access to the best investors, partners, experts and entrepreneurs from BNP Paribas’s powerful ecosystem. Up to €100k and free office space are an addition to the program. The best way to get the attention of the BNP Paribas is through this program.

50 Partners – Co-founded by 50 successful tech entrepreneurs, 50 Partners offers a unique support system, where the co-founder get financially and operationally involved with the supported startups through mentoring sessions, along with workspace, networking and services. Usually the program accepts 5 to 7 early-stage tech startups per year in the following areas: mobile, media, SaaS, big data.

The Family – Somewhere between a club and a place of education, The Family is a hybrid organization functioning as a support system for the next European tech giants. Located in Paris, Berlin and London, the Family support 20 startups each batch with funding, product, hiring and more in exchange for 5 percent of their equity. They have a portfolio of 200+ active companies including Captain Train, Algolia, Payfit Totem, Emma, SoBus, Zenaton, etc.


Brighteye Ventures – Brighteye Ventures is a leading EdTech venture capital fund in Europe, investing at Seed and Series A stages. They are looking for innovative companies using technology to enhance learning and creativity and so far they have found their match in LitiGate, Aula, Technology will save us, Ornikar, Epic, Lightneer and more.

Serena VC – Serena is a French venture capital firm focused on IT startups, financing from early stage to growth development. Founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with the motto: VCs should work for their companies, not the other way around. With the rise of AI and Big Data, they launched separately Serena Data Ventures, Europe’s first fund exclusively for early-stage Big Data and AI startups.

Orange Digital Ventures – Orange Digital Ventures is Orange’s early-stage investment arm. Primarily targeting fintech, enterprise cloud and data, and IoT startups, in line with Orange’s fields of expertise. In 2018 they launched Orange Digital Ventures Africa, a €50 million fund focused on African startups. Notable investments: Aire, Monzo, Yoko, Follow Analytics, NDG systems, and more.

Partech – With offices in Paris, Dakar, San Francisco and Berlin, Partech is an international venture capital firm, investing in seed, venture and growth stages, from software, digital brands and services to hardware and deep tech, across all major industries. Odaseva, Ambler, Bearer, and Sigfox are part of its portfolio. In 2018 they launched an Africa-focused fund with a total amount of $100 million.

CapHorn Invest – Launched in 2010 and targeting B2B, Digital, IT and SaaS companies, CapHorn Invest runs an independent investment Fund of €180M, relying on the coordinated involvement of their 250 investors. They usually invest in Series A & B in rounds ranging from 2 to 20M€ and Adents, Allure Systems, Antvoice, Vob, Bird Office and Boxtal are part of their portfolio.

Tech startup events



B2B Rocks – Dedicated to B2B and SaaS startups, B2B Rocks provides excellent speakers and 25-minutes slots from European founders to share their wisdom. The event is limited to 500 founders, so hurry up and get your ticket. Next edition: September, 12th 2019

France Digitale Day – Organised by France Digitale, an association representing the interests of the startup community in France, this event is one of the biggest tech gatherings in Europe, putting entrepreneurs, investors and thinkers at one place to discuss the latest tech developments over a number of round tables, conferences, and business speed-dating. Next edition: September, 18th 2019

Le salon des entrepreneurs – Available in Paris, Lyon, Nantes and Marseille, Le salon des entrepreneurs is an annual 2-day event to help entrepreneurs in starting their business, developing it and expanding it. The 2019 edition included over 60,000 entrepreneurs, 2000 experts, 400 exhibitors, 200 conferences and workshops and 150 famous personalities.

Viva Technology – Known to celebrate today’s innovations and tomorrow’s possibilities, Viva Technology is an annual event gathering the elite of Europe’s startup players. Providing panel discussions, exhibitions, labs and live experiences, the event is an excellent opportunity to hear about new startup initiatives, meet extraordinary people and learn something new. Next edition: May 16th-18th, 2019


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