Bpifrance is obviously a key stakeholder within the French tech ecosystem. Since 2000, they’ve provided financing to 60k companies, have had at their disposal 18 billion euros to invest in the ecosystem, and have helped finance 200 venture funds. For startups in particular, this support ranges in everything from subsidies to loans to direct and indirect investments. Although many French startups benefit in some way shape or form from their support, Bpifrance’s role is often less visible than that of other actors in the French tech ecosystem. With their launch of ‘Le Hub’ late last month, they’re seeking to change all that.
Launched in April, Le Hub is a broad innovation focused initiative structured around three principal offers: ‘Startups’, ‘Network’, and ‘Corporates’. At the heart of the Startup offer is 500m2 space within Bpifrance’s Paris headquarters where a select group of post-seed stage startups will be accelerated over a period of 6 to 18 months. For the first season, they received 100 applications of which 11 startups and SMEs a broad range of tech oriented/digital companies were chosen. Startups in the first class include: Selectionnist, Therachon, Sunna Design, Sensorion, Precogs, Famoco, Delair-Tech, Castalie, ADventori, AAVLife, and 1001Pharmacies.com. Like traditional accelerators, startups in the program will also get significant support from mentors and experts. However, as these startups tend to be later stage, there will be more emphasis on financing and fundraising support, commercial development in France, and international expansion.
With their ‘Corporates’ offer, they look to facilitate closer collaboration between startups and mid to large size companies. Their work with corporates starts with a diagnostic where they look to understand what the companies’ innovation objectives are, then screen the 30k startups within Bpifrance’s network, put the two parties in touch and support the ‘pilot’ phase at the start of the startup/corporate collaboration. Following the lead of the recently launched Partech Shaker and accelerators such as NUMA, this model of fostering collaboration between startups and corporates is beginning to be seen as in important priority which many hope will not only drive innovation, but also help to startups commercially.
Finally, Bpifrance hopes that Le Hub will not only exist as a means to support startups and corporates, but also as a support for the entire ecosystem. As such, they will host various workshops and debates around subjects such as success and failure, expanding internationally, open innovation, and the future of technology.