France 2030: the State provides an additional €500 million to deeptech

For several years, the State has taken great care of start-ups and relied heavily on them to prove its concept of “start-ups nation”. After the launch of a plan dedicated to deeptech in 2019 with an envelope of 3 billion euros, the State is mobilizing an additional 500 million euros. These funds from the France 2030 plan should accelerate the development of young research projects.

Deeptech has been the government’s leader to restore France’s industrial and technological image. Those defined today as start-ups, coming from the world of research, and relying on disruptive technologies are, more than ever, driven by investments, to move to scale. To show France’s ambition, the State did not hesitate to bet big on these young shoots. In October 2021, Emmanuel Macron launched a massive investment plan endowed with 54 billion euros called France 2030. For 5 years, this program is in line with the France Relance plan. It should make it possible to catch up with France’s backwardness in some historical sectors and aim to create new industrial and technological sectors.

At the beginning of the week, the government announced that it is digging into the coffers of this massive plan that is France 2030. In this sense, an additional 500 million euros are allocated to the deeptech sector and complete the dedicated plan, launched in 2019 , and granted of 3 billion euros. As a reminder, the latter has been managed since its creation by Bpifrance, which closely follows developments in the sector and supports companies considered the most promising. The strengthening of resources announced by Sylvie Retailleau, Minister of Higher Education and Research, and Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, translates into three pillars.

500 million divided into PUI, scholarships and calls for projects

First of all, there are 25 university innovation centers (PUI). The idea: “to bring together research groups, on the scale of a university site, by providing the latter with an innovation strategy, management and agile method”. As of November 2021, five pilot establishments are responsible for deploying PUI in their territory: Normandy University, Clermont Auvergne University, Sorbonne University, University of Strasbourg and University of Montpellier. After the provision of a budget of 9.5 million euros allocated to pilot establishments to finance the development of their PUI, “an additional 160 million euros will be mobilized to strengthen the socio-economic impact of research and to stimulate and strengthen relationships between public research actors and the socio-economic sphere in a broad sense,” said the government.

The deeptech plan should also be accelerated by strengthening existing actions (i-Lab, French Tech emergence scholarship, deeptech development aid) and the implementation of additional actions (creation of the French Tech Lab scholarship). For this, an envelope of 65 million additional euros was made available. A call for projects completes the whole. “275 million euros have been mobilized around 17 selected projects. This selection is part of the France 2030 call for maturation/prematuration projects to develop, at the level of national strategies, the capacity to see and support the promotion of research. The winners rely on local players and provide specific and portfolio actions: patent portfolio, standardization and regulatory support to take into account the specifics of each sector”.

The State wants to finance with equity

At the same time, Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, and Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of Digital Transition and Telecommunications, jointly announced: “We are also increasing our equity investments with the upcoming launch of a new venture capital fund specifically dedicated to deeptech, to be managed by Bpifrance”. 100 million euros must be released. The government sees things big and sets the bar high in terms of its goals: the creation of 100 unicorns and 500 deeptech start-ups per year by 2030. For the record, in 2021, there are 1,700, or 10% of all French start-ups. In its balance sheet, Bpifrance specified that they have, until now, received at least 20% of the amounts raised. Today, there are 2,512 deeptechs for a total amount of 3.6 billion euros raised.

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