For a long time, multinationals were synonymous with large groups: centuries-old, sprawling companies that spread to dozens of countries thanks to equally spectacular financial means. That time is over. From now on, even (very) young companies can be multinationals. And startups have understood this. 42% of Fintechs and Insurtechs in the panorama say they plan to expand internationally in the next six months. “Most of the very young shoots focus on the French market: they have to prove themselves in their village. But practically all of them have a pan-European and international vision,” confirms Alain Clot, president of France Fintech.
And for good reason: “internationalization is easier in Fintech than in other sectors,” he continues. “Financial services are becoming commonplace: people under 35 believe that consuming financial services is no different from using transport or consuming cultural goods. » Accustomed to reserving a VTC in three clicks, choosing a film or a series from catalogs that number thousands and ordering meals even in the middle of the night, new consumers demand financial services that are fast, easy to use and available anytime, anywhere.
Consumers are not the only ones pushing Fintechs to project themselves beyond national barriers. For B2B Fintechs and Insurtechs, this is practically a prerequisite. “Their clients are already present internationally; this automatically takes them to other countries”, emphasizes Alain Clot. This is the case of Qantev, for example, which has developed software for private health insurers. “We are based in Paris but all of our clients are abroad. From the first project, we worked in the Gulf region,” recalls Tarik Dadi, CEO of the startup.
“Digital makes models and uses generic. The fungibility becomes stronger. »
Alain Clot, President of France Fintech
However, international development presents several challenges for such young companies. In particular in terms of compliance with regulations and the approvals to be obtained in order to be able to attest to this. “France has chosen the so-called level playing field regulation, which imposes the same regulation regardless of the player operating the financial service”, specifies Alain Clot. A "demanding" framework, which requires a lot of effort and a lot of money" in order to obtain the labels and to comply regularly with the control audits. Especially since “the French regulator is one of the most demanding in Europe”, slips the president of France Fintech. But what can be seen as painful for companies just getting started becomes an asset once international development has begun: "it's a guarantee of professionalism and seriousness".
Europe and North America: always safe bets
The first market targeted by start-ups is naturally the European Union, favoring countries close to France – 97% of start-ups that are considering international development bet on the EU. "Thanks to the regulatory passport, European approval gives access to the other countries of the Union, which is the world's largest financial market with 450 million consumers with high purchasing power", explains Alain Clot to explain the enthusiasm for contractors.
But the new generation of Fintechs and Insurtechs does not confine its ambitions to our European neighbours. 22% are considering development in North America, the American dream having become that of French companies. You still have to have the means to match your ambitions, as Tarik Dadi points out. “The American market is very important, you need bandwidth to be able to meet demand and develop very quickly. This is not given to all young companies, but more and more start-ups are structured with this in mind, as the entrepreneur points out: "From the start, we designed our product with the aim of being able to meet the requests from international customers.
Africa and Asia: opportunities to be seized
The same proportion of startups also plan to attack the African market. “France and Africa share a linguistic and cultural community but also a training community for entrepreneurs,” notes Alain Clot. The rate of equipment with bank accounts is very low on the African continent, while the rate of equipment with smartphones is very high there. This explains why innovation is cutting-edge in terms of payment and Fintech and Insurtech applications. »
And if few young startups are turning to Asia today (only 6%), Fintechs and Insurtechs could well open the way to other French Tech sectors. Qantev is preparing to open an office there this year. And is delighted that pioneers in the sector have already cleared the market. “We are following the example of Shift Technology, which also sells software to insurers, assumes Tarik Dadi. Asia was one of their first markets. And it is now one of the fastest growing insurance products in the world. »