In the boundless world of Web3, France weaves an increasingly strong web. Among the herd of French Tech unicorns, these start-ups valued at more than $1 billion, two French successes have recently emerged as world leaders in blockchain.
Sorare, which has developed a fantasy sports game based on digital cards in the form of NFTs, achieved a historic seed round of $680 million at the end of 2021, bringing the valuation to more than €4 billion. With the ambition to become a “entertainment giant 3.0”, the model developed by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Monfort in 2019, it continues its international growth with a partnership signed last May with Major League Baseball in the United States.
A few months earlier, Ledger, whose factory is located in Vierzon (Cher), had risen to the rank of unicorn with a financing round of 380 million euros. The digital wallet company is now valued at over $1.5 billion. But the director Pascal Gauthierthink big and told the echoes that he aimed “a valuation of $100 billion”† Ledger quickly became a global benchmark and today has more than 3 million customers in 190 countries. The company claims that it secures about 15% of all cryptocurrencies worldwide.
Strengthened by this dominance in their sector, Sorare and Ledger are among the fifty or so French digital players who have decided to join forces to NFT factory, a space of 400 square meters to serve as a showcase for the ecosystem in Paris. A “fertile ecosystem”, according to Thibaud Elzière, the co-founder of the famous start-up studio eFounders, which has just launched a vertical dedicated to Web3 called 3Founders.
“Since the announcement of the launch, we have been inundated with requests from entrepreneurs who want to join us in this new Eldorado”, explains Thibaud Elziere. The first project to be launched is Cohort, a platform that allows brands to offer their customers exclusive experiences through NFTs. “There are many sectors that are on the brink of being disrupted by blockchain, and France has the talents capable of meeting this challenge,” believes the one who has already participated in the hatching of two other tricolor unicorns, Aircall and Spendesk.
But it’s not just the start-up nation that has set its sights on the internet of the future. If the blockchain has already won a place in some major French groups for its ability to trace and guarantee the authenticity of certain services or products, more and more French companies do not want to miss this technological turning point and invest.
In its latest “Blockchain and Crypto” report, the PwC firm notes that 61% of French companies that have invested in blockchain and crypto assets turned a profit in 2021. “It is no longer about a few projects with moderate resources, but a blockchain and crypto tidal wave that includes traditional companies and pure players, SMEs and large groups, French and international companies,” emphasizes the cabinet.
In addition, investing in Web3 offers opportunities for French companies ” from breaking free from international platforms to regain their digital sovereignty through decentralized technologies”, according to Frederic Montagnonat the head of Arianee , a start-up specializing in NFTs that has just raised 20 million euros.
More and more French companies are even considering associate, or even acquire a pure player in the sector over the next three years, with 28% of large and medium-sized companies now considering this option. Like Sorare, which claims nearly 325 million in revenue in 2021, French pure players are attractive for their ability to grow rapidly. Internationally, they have 44% annual growth of more than 50%, compared to 70% in France.