2022 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 84 France's story is about "Paris and the rest," a very different story compared to Germany and the UK, where several cities are ranked in the global top 100. Good momentum can be seen for Lyon, which increased by one spot nationally to rank 3rd, and rising 8 spots globally. The startup ecosystems in Marseille, Nantes, Lille, and Montpellier also had a great year with Nantes and Lille increasing by double digits in the global Index. There are now 12 French cities in the top 500 as opposed to 13 cities in 2021. There are also 9 new cities in the top 1000, with the front runners being Cannes, Caen, and La Rochelle. This brings the total number of ranked ecosystems in France in the top 1000 to 30, increasing from only 24 last year. Overall, France performs best in Foodtech, but also makes a showing in Transportation (in Toulouse and Nantes) and Energy & Environment (in Marseille). To keep and improve its position in this highly volatile part of the Index, France could benefit from developing its 2nd tier startup ecosystems and pushing them into the global top 100. Startup Ecosystem Overview France’s public sector is highly active on all fronts in developing local startup ecosystems. It is quite unique for a country to have its president involved directly in the promotion and development efforts of the startup scene, as is the case with President Macron. As France is poised to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2022, the startup policies of the country are gaining even more attention. The goal of creating a “startup nation” opened the door for a variety of strong international organizations. The most notable are La French Tech, a platform that brings together the networks of startup ecosystem stakeholders, and the newly launched French Tech Visa, an initiative for attracting investors, startup founders, and foreign talent. France is also home to Station-F, the biggest startup campus in the world. French government initiatives aimed at boosting investments in new high-risk projects and SME modernization seem to be helpful, such as tax breaks to business angels who reinvest capital gains in innovative firms and the streamlining of business creation procedures. However, the direct investment in startups made by the public sector seems to be relatively high compared to other ecosystems, an example being the State bank of Bpifrance, one of the major players in startup funding nationally. It should be noted that relatively strict labor laws and a low level of English proficiency are still limiting the potential of the French ecosystem to grow startups at full speed. The difficulties in reforming the economy affect the ability of the local startup ecosystem to grow faster and achieve its potential. This is a good lesson: regardless of the strategic vision of any country in developing its startup ecosystem, you can’t separate it from the regulations and policies on the ground. It’s inspiring to see that some French startups are already leaving their mark globally (Blablacar and Ledger are two of our favorites), and there is much potential for even further future growth.