Episto survey

French people and startups


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‍InSeptember 2019, Emmanuel Macron announced the goal of 25 French unicorns by 2025. The ambition has been reached 3 years earlier than expected with the arrival of Exotec in the very privileged ranks of the startup elite. If the French President has made this a highlight of his five-year term, to what extent do the French feel concerned by the subject? What is their perception of startups and their impact on society? To find out, Episto, a specialist in social network studies, surveyed 1,000 French people* on four key topics: image, usage, employment and investment.

A generally positive opinion

97% of French people are familiar with the concept of startups and 58% think they have a positive impact on society. They are seen as being as much or more innovative than large groups (for 74%), and as much or more attentive to their consumers than other companies (for 77%).

But the specificities of this ecosystem are far from being mastered by all: 80% of French people do not know what a unicorn is, these famous startups valued at more than 1 billion dollars, or have never heard of them. We also note that only one third knows what "French Tech" is - the ecosystem that brings together startups, investors and decision-makers, led in particular by Cédric O, Secretary of State for the Digital Economy, and Frédéric Mazzella, founder of BlaBlaCar.

The massive use of the services of certain unicorns has democratized the notion of a startup

79% of French people have already used the services of Doctolib, 37% of BlaBlaCar, 25% of ManoMano, and 21% of Back Market. These unicorns have made new consumer habits accessible and offer goods and services in line with current trends: ecological awareness, development of online shopping and rationalization of household budgets.

On the other hand, VeePee (formerly Vente-Privée), Lydia, Vestiaire Collective and Sorare are at the bottom of the list of unicorns adopted by the French, with respectively 12%, 11%, 4% and 2% of them having already used them.

Startups are seen as an opportunity for 18-24 year olds

The new generation seems to see startups as a source of hope: for 69% of 18-24 year olds, they can help society meet the challenges of ecological transition (compared to 53% of the overall sample), while 63% think they can provide solutions to employment and professional integration problems (compared to 53%).

Younger people also see them as an opportunity for their career, unlike their elders who seem more reticent: nearly 60% would like to work in a startup (compared to 33% of those over 25) and 41% see it as a vector for social ascension (compared to 25% of those over 25), as startups are perceived as less demanding in terms of diplomas and qualifications.

The French are still reluctant to invest in startups

Although a large percentage of French people consider startups as growth engines for the economy (47%), only 1% declare to have already invested in one of them.

However, more than a quarter of them plan to do so, a trend that could continue to grow as incentives for French people to invest in startups and SMEs develop .

"As the presidential election approached, we were curious to know to what extent the French were interested in the subject of startups, or if this only concerned a minority: in reality, they know the tip of the iceberg (the concept of startup, the largest ones such as Doctolib orBlaBlaCar), but they feel relatively unconcerned by the issues and economic subtleties of this ecosystem, and still seem a little reluctant to work or invest their savings in it. However, it is worth noting the hope that they represent for the new generation, who see them as solutions to the major challenges of society and as springboards for their professional future," comments Jérémy Lefebvre, CEO of Episto .


Methodology of the study

1000 respondents.
Representative sample of the French population according to the quota method.

Study dates: February 16-20, 2022.
Source of respondents: Facebook and Instagram.

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