Since the election of president Emmanuel Macron in 2017, Paris has experienced a surge of momentum as a startup hub. Investor interest had been building for years, but Macron’s government has aggressively focused on adopting more business-friendly regulations and heavily courted the startup and VC community. In September, he announced a €5 billion initiative to bring more late-stage VC capital into the market.
To get a sense of where France’s investor community sees startup opportunities, I surveyed 10 leading VCs who focus on the Paris ecosystem and asked them to share some of their current interests:
- Nicolas Debock (Idinvest)
- Marie Brayer (Serena Capital)
- Yacine Ghalim (Heartcore Capital)
- Romain Lavault (Partech Partners)
- Pia d’Iribarne (Stride VC)
- Alain Caffi (Ventech)
- Philippe Botteri (Accel)
- Alice Zagury (TheFamily)
- Jean de La Rochebrochard (Kima Ventures)
- Benoit Wirz (Brighteye Ventures)
Here are their responses:
Nicolas Debock (Idinvest)
Privacy is a trend I am really excited about. After the years of deployment of the web through different platforms (browser, mobile, TV, objects…) where personal data was just gathered and used in a ruthless way, I believe end users and companies are getting more conscious of the value (and not only the financial value) of their data.
This is creating the emergence of different tools around personal data management: from personal data platform, synthetic data to anonymization tool and encryption there is a wide range of new kind of businesses that could emerge. I believe that the future always emerge from tension between two trends. The web has been all around transparency and data deluge it is maybe time for the opposite trends to build its momentum.
Marie Brayer (Serena Capital)
We’re still big on deeptech startups because we are deeply convinced that France is a great place to start them (not unlike Israel) and there are still huge fields like healthcare, infrastructure and fashion where you can develop relevant and persistent value.
We are more and more focused on positive investing, which is much more than a buzzword: the current generation of entrepreneurs (and returning entrepreneurs as well!) want to dedicate their time to a worthy cause with social and societal impact. At Serena, we already invested in several companies with strong missions such as Lifen for instance (mission: reduce medical errors), Inato (decrease R&D cost of new medicine) or Accenta (reduce carbon footprint), and can see first hand the appeal they have towards tier one talent.
A new strong focus for us is also the gaming and entertainment industry, which will take a larger share of our lives thanks to all the existing solutions already optimizing our work time and our daily mobility.