FRANCE LEADS EUROPEAN INVESTMENTS IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN 2019
According to a France Digitale - Roland Berger study, French AI startups are expected to raise double the amount of funds compared to 2018. A giant step forward for France, which should dethrone the United Kingdom on this occasion.
I/ France takes over England
If the French remain reluctant to the idea of working and being led by robots, artificial intelligence is not about to slow down. It is quite the opposite: according to a France Digitale - Roland Berger study whose first conclusions were unveiled on 28 October, for the first time in 2019 the French AI startups attracted more investment than the British or the Israelis.
According to the study's projections (only figures for the first half of 2019 are currently available), French AI start-ups are expected to raise $1,268 million by the end of the year. This is double the amount raised in 2018 ($567 million).
For the first time, France is therefore projected to be just ahead of the United Kingdom ($1241 million) and Israel ($902 million). Until then, Great Britain was the uncontrollable European leader in artificial intelligence in terms of funds raised and the number of start-ups set up. Germany, which like France has almost doubled its funds invested in AI, is lagging behind with $510 million raised this year.
In recent months, France has already established itself as a strong competitor. In February, McKinsey's consultants recognized it as "a very good source of skills". "It wouldn't take much for France to be at the level of the best (and) take the lead on the development of artificial intelligence at European level," they continued.
II/ The European AI Landscape :
The United Kingdom, France, Israel and Germany are the leading quartet of artificial intelligence on the European continent, accounting for 80% of the funds raised by startups in the field. Twelve countries, mainly Nordic and Baltic, then form a dense ecosystems and a good level of research in artificial intelligence in the private sector.
The context is therefore rather favourable for the French startups of the AI, which grow like mushrooms in wet weather. The 2019 mapping of France Digitale indeed counts no less than 432 new projects in this branch. The fields are varied: robotics, business (support, marketing, human resources, etc.), health, pharmaceutical industry, adtech, fintech, agriculture, transport, big data and machine learning, hardware, commerce, etc. There were 308 in France in October 2018.
III/ But sharply lower fundraising than in the United-States :
Many more funds raised in the United States for many fewer transactions.
Moreover, the study shows that most investments in France are "in-house": almost three quarters of the funds come from France and only 16% from Europe. This is a much higher proportion than in the United Kingdom or Germany, where premises account for two thirds of investments. Funds from other European countries account for 29% and 17% of the money raised for AI in these two countries respectively.
The topography of European fundraising in AI remains quite classic: many rounds of funding with much lower tickets than in the United States. On the Old Continent, the average deal is about $4.6 million, compared to $24 million on the other side of the Atlantic. The total amount of transactions amounts to 9 billion dollars, almost five times more than in Europe.
This is particularly true in France, where food technology is a good example of this investor behaviour. While France is the country with the highest number of fundraising events between 2014 and 2018 in Europe, fundraising in excess of â‚¬20 million can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Be careful, therefore, notes the study, with this kind of mechanism, not to slow the growth of AI startups and the emergence of unicorns. One of the approaches put forward by France Digitale and Roland Berger is investor syndication.