Vive La France: The French Tech Companies Taking On The World

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The French tech scene is populated by huge multinational organisations, telco giants and emerging startups. Here are some of the most influential


France has emerged as a leader in the field of adtech, which is unsurprising given its heritage. It is home to Publicis, the world’s biggest advertising agency after all.

Criteo is leading the wave of French startups in this field, forming in 2005. It’s engine is able to produce personalised online advertisements to people who have visited the advertiser’s website without buying anything.

The hope is that the creatives can entice the user back to the website with a customised message built on data from various channels.

It has more than 1,500 employees in 24 offices across the world and works with 7,000 advertisers.

Orange France telecom mobile knife hack © Danielle Balderas Shutterstock

Orange (France Telecom)

France Telecom was formed in 1991 when it was separated from the national postal service (La Poste) and was privatised in 1998.

As part of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the company deployed France’s telephone network and rolled out Minitel – a French predecessor to the World Wide Web. In 2000, it bought mobile network Orange and in 2013 the whole of France Telecom became ‘Orange S.A.’.

Today, France Telecom serves French consumers and businesses as well as multinational companies around the world. It is also a shareholder in BT, acquiring a stake after the sale of EE last year.


Founded near Toulouse, Sigfox’s proprietary Low Power Wide Area Network (LP-WAN) technology is destined to be one of the building blocks of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Sigfox networks are being deployed around the world to connect devices that require low bandwidth and long battery life. This includes the UK, where WND-UK is working on a nationwide network, while Arqiva has built some city deployments.

The system has also been used on on Antarctica, to help the safety of a Belgian expedition undertaking projects related to climate change and sustainability.

The company secured €150 million (£129.4m) in funding  last year to accelerate the expansion of its global network.

Tour de France


Music streaming service Deezer was founded in Paris in 2007 and has gone on to become one of the most popular services of its type, now boasting 16 million monthly active users and 6 million paid subscribers.

It prides itself on having a library of over 40 million songs (although catalogues do vary from country to country), which are supplemented by 40,000 podcasts to help it stand out from the crowd.

But it hasn’t been an easy ride. Deezer has had to compete with high-profile competitors in the form of Spotify and, more recently, Apple Music.

Also, at the end of last year it was found to be leaking personally identifiable information, including customer and business data, along with a host of other popular mobile website and apps.


From music to video, DailyMotion is one of the world’s biggest video sharing platforms, offering a mix of content from users, independent creators and premium partners.

It currently attracts around 300 million users globally each month who watch a combined 3.5 billion videos. Impressive numbers, but still a long way behind its biggest rival YouTube which is believed to generate hundreds of millions of hours of video watched every day.

But DailyMotion is still a major player. It was nearly acquired by internet giant Yahoo, before a French government minister blocked the move and accused the US company of wanting to “devour” its smaller competitor.

It also suffered the ignominy of falling victim to a mass cyber attack at the end of 2016 where hackers made off with 85 million account usernames and passwords. DailyMotion was criticized for its handling of the breach, with industry experts condemning its slow response.

France’s media and startup scene on Page 3…

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