Tech France for Net Zero: are we there yet ?

On June 30 th , Global Tech Advocates held the first conference addressing the role tech should
play in reducing the world carbon emissions, with one motto: tech for net zero.

We, at Tech France Advocates, were invited to share a local insight on the topic. So, we
shared a story. A story that, in our opinion, shows that, while France has what it takes to reach
tech for net zero, it’s not quite there yet.

Lhyfe, a French exception

It’s the story of Lhyfe… Yes, LHYFE!

This amazing company illustrates France’s capacity to be at the forefront of the use of
hydrogen as the next clean source of energy.

To keep it simple, Lhyfe industrializes the production of hydrogen from renewable energy to make it usable for hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. It is building its first production plant at this
very moment and should build 40 more by 2023.

Lhyfe’s founder comes from one of France’s world class scientific institution, the CEA. As a matter of a fact, most of the edge cutting innovations are produced within France’s
academic and scientific organizations.

Yet, while Lhyfe is a great example of a successful spin off, it’s not a common case.

France still has a long way to go…

The first big challenge for France is to reduce the time and complexity it takes for an innovation to find its market. Ground-breaking tech for net zero innovations are just waiting for market applications!

The second challenge is money.

Lhyfe raised over 10 million euros. It sounds great at first, but will it be enough? How do 10 million euros compare to the 300 or 400 million euros raised by companies like Miraki or
Vodoo that could not care less about tech for net zero?

In order to make Lhyfe a more common story, maybe the investors should have more
responsibility and concern for the tech for net zero question. Yes, French startups have raised
5.4 billion € last year despite the crisis. But out of the Next 40 index, only 5 have “tech for net
zero” products.

Yes, dedicated investment funds are being created like 2050 by Marie Ekeland, and Founders
Future, by Marc Ménasé, let’s just hope they will lead the way for many more !

We are not lacking talent and creativity, nor a powerful industrial capacity. We are lacking
money and a strong will to go further than just vague commitments.
It’s great to talk about environmental impact or carbon footprint. It is time to actually make it
a priority, and put money on the table!

Overview of sustainable tech in France

  • More than 700 start-ups and scale ups employing 18 000 people
  • They are fairly new : 61% of these companies are less than 5 years old
  • They have raised 4.4 billion euros since their creation
  • The biggest fundraise (more than 100 million) are Blablacar, Ynsect, Vestiaire Collective,
  • Innovafeed, Ecovadis and Actility

Main sectors are energy (13% of the companies : EkWateur, Hello Watt et Nawa
Technologies), then agri tech (Ynsect, la Ruche qui dit Oui or Agricool, then mobility with BlaBla Car and its 90 million users in 22 countries, which saved up to 1.6 million tons of CO2 emission since it was created. Last, circular economy with Back Market, Vestiaire collective and Phenix (fight against food waste).