[FW500] The ranking of the top 500 French Tech companies

by bold-lichterman

IMPORTANT: The call for contributions for the 2017 edition will be launched from October 1, 2016 to January 29, 2017. For any information: [email protected]

Take part in the 2017 edition.


The French Tech ecosystem has been structured over several waves. Let us remember, in 1995, the pure players confronted the historical players, with regulations which aim to protect the income of the latter… while they carry out their own transformations.

Thirty years later, who are the main FrenchTech companies that dominate this ecosystem? This is the question we wanted to answer through the Frenchweb 500.

While historical players, especially telecom operators, unsurprisingly occupy the top of the rankings, a few pure players, in eCommerce or advertising, have risen to significant turnover levels.

These companies are distinguished by seasoned entrepreneurs (Critéo, Vente-privée, Teads, etc.), who have not hesitated to increase their risk-taking, while equipping themselves with the means to make their startups major players, both in the French market and international.

At the same time, many companies, in particular many software publishers created in the 80s / 90s, have consolidated their positions, however with moderate growth, in order to maintain their profitability.

An ecosystem that is itself a start-up

Since the 2000s, new companies have been developing thanks to a funding chain that has grown considerably. These companies are also driven by entrepreneurs who reinject part of their earnings. Better still, they are active in their participations, and, with passion, they now transmit the desire to undertake.

At the same time, investment funds intervene as soon as they are seeded, and are gradually moving out of their comfort zones.

The French state is developing an active policy through successive governments. The role of the BPI is major. The FrenchTech label, even if it crystallizes many tensions between the makers and the communicators, federates all the initiatives of the ecosystem.

The societal context brings a new generation of entrepreneurs: young people, for whom business creation is now accessible, and employees, who, on the strength of their experiences, take the risk step, to achieve innovations that they do not were able to achieve within the large groups to which they belonged.

If Paris concentrates a large part of these companies, their developments are becoming more and more regionalized with teams scattered around the large metropolises, in particular the technical, marketing and customer services teams, which can now operate remotely.

A dynamic Frenchtech but not yet ready to access the VShampions League

These new French start-ups are based on their international competitors. They are in the United States, but not exclusively. With the hyper-development of the Chinese markets, Southeast Asia and Africa, where uses are natively based on the latest innovations, development opportunities are widening.

It emerges that to exist on an international market, the breeding of bonsai is not necessary. These companies are in desperate need of development in the Champions League first.

This ranking shows to what extent the entrepreneurial cursor has changed position economically, managerially, or financially.

In this context, the role of large groups is key. The Frenchweb 500 reveals that, in order to grow, French start-ups should no longer be considered as communication tools to justify the digital transformation of a large group. They should not be seen as competitors either, but rather as partners who will allow them to rise to the top of the world competition.

The road traveled is exemplary; we do not have to be ashamed of what is being done elsewhere. We must be clear about the level our companies are facing, whether it is facing European neighbors, Israel, Asia or the United States.

Formerly a French nugget, a captain Train must no longer be a prey to satisfy its investors, but must, too, become a conqueror.

We have all the assets to play at this level.

SEE the ranking of the 500 Tech companies: