The Nantes region is infused with the start-up dynamic: 76 startups have got going in 2016 alone.

iAdvize, Lengow, MyScript, EP and Akeneo are just some of Nantes' success stories.  The quickening proliferation of startups is fuelled by the vitality of Nantes' ecosystem and is reflected in the findings of a recent study by Nantes' city planning agency, which identified 240 startups in Nantes Saint-Nazaire in June 2017, of whom 76 were created in 2016.  

Creative friction generating startups

« The Nantes region is now infused with the startup dynamic,» write the study's authors. Incubators and accelerators are sprouting up around the region, with Nantes now home to 8 of the former and 9 of the latter, each with its own special focus (see chart).  Around 40 public and private initiatives have been aimed at startups since 2013, including competitions, open-innovation exercises and acceleration programmes.


Incubateur Centrale-Audencia-ENSA
Incubateur IMT Atlantique
Le village by CA
Maia Mater
Startup Palace
Novapuls (lancé en 2018)

ADN Booster
Imagination Machine
Operation Elephant
1Kubator-LaVigneNumérique - WineTech
Eco innovation factory
Creative care factory

Nantes City Lab
574 SNCF
Data Nantes
Digital for life
Start Me Up – Enedis
Take a desk

(launched in 2018)
Note: this spread is not fixed and may change

Web2Day, a flagship event in France's digital landscape

The ninth Web2Day ran from 7 to 9 June 2017 and attracted 5,000 participants, the annual event having become an essential gathering in France's digital sector. These two linked dynamic make Nantes an "important place for French startups". This is why Forbes magazine's latest rankings put Nantes as the third-best place to launch a startup in France, behind only Paris and Lyon. Having provided constant support to networks and communities of companies over the last 10 years, Nantes offers budding young enterprises the best conditions for cultivating their projects and growing.

Double the number of coworking spaces

The impact on employment is clear. Nantes stands out as the leading city in France for job creation in the digital sector. Half of startups are in the digital sector (computer programming, consultancy, software and data) but the phenomenon extends into other sectors such as health, mobility, green technologies, education, industry and commerce.
Another positive knock-on effect is that the number of coworking spaces has doubled in 3 years in the Nantes metropolitan area. Between offices, business centres and business incubators, there are now some forty property developments aimed at startups.

Find out more: AURAN study on the acceleration of the startup phenomenon in Nantes