"Web3 Investor of the Year: Bpifrance

The Big Whale has just organised its first "Web3 Awards" to honour the personalities and projects that are making the European sector shine. There were 7 categories. Bpifrance won the prize for "Best Web3 Investor of the Year".

We tend to see the public sphere as a rather sceptical, if not hostile, universe when it comes to cryptos and Web3. But this is partly untrue, particularly on the part of Bpifrance, which has been funding a large part of the ecosystem for years and has just won the award for best investor of the year.

Whether it's Ledger, Sorare, Kaiko or even the start-up Acinq (specialising in scaling bitcoin), all these nuggets have benefited from the support of the public investment bank at some point in their history. More recently, DFNS (an MPC specialist) or Narval (a security overlay for digital asset management) have also benefited.

"This award is the recognition of a global and patient construction work begun in 2018 within Bpifrance and carried out in a decentralised way by all the business lines and with top management, often under the media radar", says Yoann Caujolle, managing director at Bpifrance.

The bank is currently one of the first European institutional players to finance business models using blockchain. "We strongly believe in the disruptive power of this technology, the challenge is to position the French ecosystem at the forefront of this new technological cycle in order to attract the best projects, the best talent and encourage value creation in France," he continues.

Bpifrance's strategy meets three strategic commitments: financing the ecosystem, supporting it beyond the strictly financial aspect, and then testing and implementing the technology internally. Each of these options adapting according to usage and market conditions...

"It's crucial to have a strategy but you have to remain agile, as Web3 remains a decentralised and non-linear function," explains Yvan de Lastours, blockchain lead for Bpifrance.

The institution's involvement can take a variety of forms: loans, grants, innovation competitions, equity investments, investments in funds and even, more recently, investments in tokens.

For this last type of operation, Bpifrance uses its fund of funds activity. To date, it has subscribed to six specialist investment funds, all active in France and capable of investing in both equity and crypto-assets. A seventh is due to be launched shortly in 2023...

When it comes to projects selected directly by Bpifrance, the criteria can vary depending on the stage of funding. "Between an initial grant and an investment of several million euros, they are not the same," points out Ivan de Lastours. "But there are two elements that come up systematically, expertise in the sector and the professionalism of the teams."

As for the purpose, it is never speculative. "Our mandate is exclusively to seek out companies or investment funds that are working over the long term to build the products and services of tomorrow's "blockchainised" economy. This is an important filter in the universe of possibilities", says Yoann Caujolle.

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