FRANCE — Quest for change, a French regionally-certified network of five high-quality incubators (Innovact, Quai Alpha, Rimbaud’Tech, SEMIA, and The Pool), based in six locations within the Grand Est region, has launched Quest for health, an accelerator dedicated to healthcare start-ups.

Quest for health benefits from the support of several institutional partners in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Boston (USA), as well as the Grand Est innovation ecosystem, in particular, BioValley France and SATT Conectus, both members of the DeepEst consortium.

The launch of Quest for health is the result of a venture initiated in 2018 by the incubators of the Quest for change network.

When the team, composed of former entrepreneurs, developed a new methodology adapted to other entrepreneurs, the number of healthcare projects supported rose from 5 to 60 in the space of just four years.

Quest for change saw the perfect opportunity to create a project focused specifically on healthcare, leading to the founding of Quest for health following a rapid rate of growth with healthcare being the majority of start-ups now receiving support.

By increasing its visibility at both a national and international level, the accelerator intends to attract more high-potential projects, investors, and partners.

Currently, around a third of start-ups supported by Quest for health are from outside of the region: 20% come from other regions within France and 13% come from abroad, including spin-offs from Harvard Medical School, Stanford University, and Technion (Israël).

As of Spring 2019, Paris is the fastest-growing tech hub in Europe (second only to London in size) with BpiFrance leading investment in Europe’s Digital Health scene.

As seen in the overall market, local investors and accelerator managers have seen an increase in average deal size (also second only to London), especially when it comes to early-stage Digital Health startups (10% CAGR since 2016).

The French market size was estimated in 2019 to reach €4 billion by 2020 with this forecast most likely to increase due to the recent global pandemic.

At the helm are unicorn Doctolib, a platform for booking and locating nearby health practitioners, and Alan, a health insurance platform valued at €800m in April 2020.

Both companies are Agoranov alumni, one of the top accelerators in France. Accelerators and incubators have been rather ubiquitous throughout France’s journey of holding the fastest-growing tech hub in Europe.

French tech is getting a big boost from incubators and accelerators and below are some examples of them

Key incubators

iPEPS-ICM incubator for Digital Health startups is coordinated by the ICM (Brain and Spine Institute), located at Station F, the largest startup campus in the world, and funded by billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel.

Agoranov is one of the largest and oldest tech incubators in Paris, supporting projects in the fields of Deep Tech and Health. Alumni include Doctolib, Ynsect, and Cardiawave.

Paris & Co: Tech Care Paris is a one to two-year e-health, wellbeing, and Medtech incubation program. The program provides startups with the opportunity to collect data regarding hospital performance, patient experience, and elderly care.

Semia, based in Alsace, is the largest health incubator in France (covering Biotech, Medtech, and e-health).

This incubator has a rather atypical startup growth strategy. Although a non-profit organization, Semia strongly focuses on startup GTM strategy with the ultimate goal of making startups profitable by the time they reach Series A.

Key accelerators

Hub Healthtech by BPIFrance is a hub in partnership with Roche and Sanofi to accelerate the growth of e-health startups in the French market.

Big Booster supports early-stage startups including health startups that have a proof of concept or a prototype with the ambition to develop internationally.

EuraTechnologies supports early-stage startups with high traction (including digital health ones) by implementing growth strategies through its 3 accelerator programs (Scale, Rocketship and Grow).

Digital pharma lab partnered with Servier, Biogen, Sanofi, BPIFrance, and others. Digital Pharma Lab is a 5-month pharmatech acceleration program.

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