Paris (AFP)

The government unveiled Wednesday the first annual selection of 40 start-ups to become "global technology leaders" and will receive personalized follow-up from French public bodies and administrations, according to a statement.

"The Next40 is the CAC40 French technology companies," said Secretary of State Cédric O, cited in the statement.

These companies are the first of a broader ranking of 120 hyper-growth start-ups (the French Tech 120).

These 120 companies will benefit from increased visibility, will be favored to join the official trips of the president and government officials, and will have access to support from public services and organizations (Urssaf, Cnil, Customs, Inpi, etc.), reinforced among the first 40, to accelerate their international development or their IPO.

"It is considered that it is in the general interest of the country to bring up international champions" and therefore to pay particular attention to these promising companies, without opening them to "pass-rights" explained Cédric O to the AFP.

If we take the example of Urssaf, it is above all "to train and upgrade companies that grew up very quickly and were able to forget a number of things," he said.

To be selected, the 40 companies of this restricted club must have their head office installed in France, have not made an "exit" (buyout by a group or IPO) and fulfill a certain number of criteria of economic performance. .

"It's not the government that chose" but a jury chaired by Céline Lazorthes, founder of Leetchi (online prize pools) and Mangopay (payment solutions), he said.

The Next40 includes the seven French "unicorns" (unlisted companies valued at more than one billion euros), the largest fundraising in the last three years as well as the leverage of more than 100 million euros.

Companies must also have recorded a turnover of at least 5 million euros in the last financial year, growing by more than 30% on average over the last three years.

The Next40 includes, for example, BlaBlaCar (carpooling), Cityscoot (self-service scooters), Deezer (music streaming), Doctolib (booking medical appointments), Meero (services for photographers), OpenClassrooms (training courses) or Ynsect (breeding of insects for animal nutrition).

According to the data aggregated by the government, the median growth of the selected companies over the last three years amounts to 158% and 32 of them have at least one foreign investor in their capital.

They also plan to increase their number of employees by 30% in the coming year.

© 2019 AFP