Forget profits and even growth at French startups — only one data point will matter to France going forward, and it’s jobs.
A €4bn cash injection unveiled in March, shortly after the pandemic forced French people into lockdown, showed France bailing out its startups more generously than most in Europe.
More than 10,000 startups have already got state-backed loans, for a total surpassing €1.5bn, according to French digital affairs junior minister Cedric O.
But is that serving to soften the blow of job losses in French startups? And is that creating a better environment for startup employees?
Latest hiring data
Sifted analysed data collected by France Digitale, an industry group that represents some 1,800 French and European startups, about hiring plans since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The data shows some 300 companies are hiring amid Covid-19.
It paints a reasonably rosy picture of the outlook for French employment, but also for startup employees looking for work.
Nicolas Brien, the chief executive of France Digitale, points out that startups were the biggest net creators of jobs in the fourth quarter of 2019, with 94% of jobs created involving long-term contracts, and says that hiring should continue through the crisis and beyond.
“French startups have shown their ability to create quality, long-term jobs that aren’t likely to be relocated in other parts of the world,” says Brien. “This sends a positive message for coming out of the current crisis -- startups will be part of the solution.”
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He argues that this is partly because many startups are benefiting from an acceleration in digital trends that have been prompted by coronavirus (e.g remote working, digital health).
“A lot of these startups are facing huge demand to address the digital transition needs of bigger companies,” says Brien. “It’s clear that the coronavirus situation has accelerated everything from remote work to e-commerce habits.”
Meanwhile, the view from the French government is evolving from putting out fires to getting startups back on the jobs-creation path. Pre-coronavirus, forecasts had startups creating a fourth of all new jobs in France in 2020, which adds up to about 25,000 new jobs.
Back Market, the platform for buying refurbished electronics that raised $120m this week, is the French startup adding the most jobs, with 74 positions open, says Brien.
Here’s who else is hiring, and what you should know.
Startups with the most positions to fill
- Back Market. 74 jobs listed.
- Swile. Services for non-work interactions at work, like grouping lunch orders and chipping in for a colleague’s birthday gift. It’s based in Montpellier, south of France, but also hiring in Paris. It’s got 51 jobs on offer.
- Dejbox. Lunchboxes delivered to the workplace. 50 jobs to fill across France.
- Aircall. Cloud-based business phone system and call centre software. It’s planning to hire 125 people in 2020, of which 40 jobs are currently posted, from software engineers to product managers and sales.
- Contentsquare. Technology for brands to improve consumers’ digital experience. 38 adverts.
- Doctolib. Digital doctor and health services. It’s hiring 3,000 people in the coming four years. 35 jobs on the board.
- Scaleway. Cloud services. Hiring 35.
- Datadog. Data, monitoring and analytics tools. Also hiring 35 people.
Health and medtech
Health and medtech startups are perhaps the most obviously well positioned to come out of the Covid crisis stronger.
With people confined, digital doctor demand has gone through the roof, and Doctolib is only one example of companies benefiting.
How much of that positive trend persists beyond Covid remains to be seen, but consumers have shown during this crisis they’re more open to trying new health-related services.
- 360 medics. Software built for doctors and nurses. Hiring developers and others in Lyon, France.
- Alan. Not strictly health care: a new generation of health insurance. It raised €50m last month and is hiring sales and other types.
- Aqemia. Artificial intelligence used for researching new drugs — a spinoff from the research labs of prestigious university École Normale Supérieure. “Drug hunters”, artificial intelligence experts and others are on the hiring list.
- Qare. Tele-consultation software. Looking for sales types in Paris.
- Synapse Medicine. Artificial intelligence platform aimed at avoiding patients getting hurt from unknowingly taking incompatible medical treatments. A data scientist, and other jobs in Bordeaux.
Startups making software for businesses
With most French employees forced to work from home since March, companies are having to accelerate their shift to digital tools and quickly adopt technology that’ll let them do business at a distance.
That’s creating opportunities for startups from cybersecurity to virtual events.
- EasyMovie. Software to help companies make video content that’s ready to share. It’s hiring developers in Paris.
- Easyquorum. Software for organising digital board and shareholder meetings. It’s targeting companies with a Covid-confinement package, and hiring commercial and customer service types.
- Livestorm. Video-conferencing and webinars for businesses. Four positions open, including sales.
- Walter Learning. An e-learning platform for training employees, based at Paris startup campus Station F. It’s hiring sales and developer types.
- Wizishop. Lets shops create their e-commerce activities. It’s hiring web experts and other types in Nice, south of France, where the startup is based.
- Yousign. Secured electronic document and contract signing. Hiring in its Caen and Paris offices, as well as fully remote.
Consumers in focus
It’s not just companies — the coronavirus has forced people as well to change their habits overnight, from the way we stay in touch to how we shop.
Consumers are buying less overall, going online instead of in stores, minding their budget more and picking brands carefully. Used laptops, computer screens, Playstations and Xboxes are ranking on top of the confinement best-sellers list, according to Back Market.
So-called “circular economy” models and cleaner alternatives to well-established models are getting increased attention.
- Epicery. Lets consumers order products from shops in their neighbourhood and have them delivered. It’s hiring a developer.
- Famileo. Create a family gazette for older members and it gets printed and mailed to them. It’s looking for sales and other types.
- Stuart. Cleaner, eco-friendly delivery services in cities.
- Zenride. Bike-rental solutions for employees and their companies. Based at Station F campus in Paris, the startup is still in early stages and has six employees. It’s not hiring strictly speaking, but rather looking for interns.
Fintech and insurtech highlights
- Bankin’. Bank account aggregator platform for consumers to manage their budget. It’s got four positions open in Paris.
- Ledger. Makes a vault and other products to secure cryptocurrencies. Engineering and other positions in Paris.
- Yomoni. Robot financial advisor for managing your savings. It’s looking for financial advisors and other profiles.