Digital Venture, the Bpifrance fund that adapts to changes in the business ecosystem

Digital Venture is blowing out its ten candles. The fund, now managed by Bpifrance, began operations in late 2011 with the ambition of revitalizing the venture capital market, which was “Very weak as a result of the 2008 financial crisis”, explains Véronique Jacq, Director of Digital Venture at Bpifrance. At that time, only 600 million euros were invested in start-ups compared to more than 11 billion in 2021.

Good performance
Thus, at the end of 2011, 300 million euros were released to invest in the collection of funds from series A and B. In 2015, the fund diversified, also participating in the collection of seed funds. The second generation of the Digital Venture fund, endowed with an endowment of 370 million euros, was launched in 2018. Today, the Digital Venture has 720 million euros in assets under management. 365 million euros have been invested 113 startups that created 9,100 jobs.

Digital Venture estimates that the companies in its portfolio are currently valued at more than 5 billion euros. “Performance is good”, says Véronique Jacq soberly. She adds that they are “above the median and near the first quartile”. Therefore, 25% of the funds have a better return and, for the latter, the return is around 1.7.

From acquisitions to IPO
The background highlights the “exits”. 21 departures were made –Including 6 disposals with a valuation of more than 200 million euros– for a total value of 1.9 billion euros. Three-quarters of these sales were made to strategic players such as industry and large groups such as Netatmo with Legrand, TalentSoft with Cegid or Cardiologists with Philips. Strategic acquisitions that accelerate the transformation of the French and European industrial sectors as 70% of the transfers are made with these actors.

In the future, Bpifrance wants to help strengthen the autonomy and independence of start-ups for as long as possible. “This includes funding larger rounds and facilitating access to equity markets”explains Véronique Jacq.

Digital Venture, always a must
“Digital Venture has contributed to the development of an economy around start-upssays Véronique Jacq. At first, about thirty funds were present in the market. Today there are more than a hundred. If the venture capital market has developed strongly in 10 years, Digital Venture is still essential in the French economic landscape. “It is important to maintain a good team of investors to meet the needs of the market”, says Véronique Jacq. If the market slows down tomorrow, it is crucial to be reactive and operational.

Bpifrance’s participation in certain fundraising drives the arrival of other investors who can rest assured. Véronique Jacq evoked “leverage”. When Digital Venture takes a stake in the initial round, third-party investors invest 2.2 times more. The multiplier is 4.7 in the A and B fundraising series.

A riskier strategy
Véronique Jacq also stands out “the riskiest strategy that private investors carry out.” But, he adds, the fund still needs to make a profit and portfolio diversification is key. However, unlike private investors, Digital Venture can invest for quite a long time, that is, wait a long time before seeing profits. Today, this allows us to bet on deep tech, which represents approximately 30% of the fund’s investments, and less dynamic sectors, such as education a few years ago.

Highlights include the help offered by the Bpifrance press service for start-ups, as well as being able to more easily access key accounts to market your product. The presence of several women on the team is welcomed by Véra Kempf, co-founder of Singulart : “Give confidence when you go to the field”. An important point as women founders always have more difficulty raising funds than men, as Sista’s latest barometer points out.

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