France has been jockeying for position as a major player in the digital-health sector. In 2020, e-health start-ups raised over €391 million, as opposed to €516 million the previous year, although it must be said that that figure was dramatically increased by the record-breaking fund-raising for Doctolib, an on-line appointment-making service.
That sum accounts for 7.3% of funds raised by all the start-ups in French Tech combined. The total has been estimated at €5.39 billion for 620 companies, according to the EY French venture-capital barometer. E-health is proving itself to be one of the most contraction-resistant technological sectors.
In a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, most of those funds are concentrated in the telemedicine, R&D and diagnostic-assistance sectors. Out of the fifty-odd firms that raised funds, five start-ups exceeded the €30-million-euro mark: Withings (53 M€), Alan (50 M€), Medadom (40 M€), Robocath (40 M€) and the medical-AI specialist Owkin (39 M€).
Building a world-class digital-health sector in France
Following that top tier is Inato, which raised €14 million to develop a platform automating the search for partners in the context of clinical trials. The diagnostic-assistance sector also did well for itself: a start-up called Gleamer, which publishes fracture-detection software, has raised €7.5 million.
The figures provide encouragement for President Emmanuel Macron’s determination to build a world-class digital-health sector in France. In order to achieve that goal, a vast campus project christened PariSanté and endowed with €400 million will be launched in 2021.