You might have caught the New York Times article Au Revoir, Entrepreneurs portraying French entrepreneurs that were fleeing en masse for more “entrepreneurial environments” like London?
The article certainly did create some waves in the local entrepreneur community, and of course there were a number of intelligent responses from, for example, Frédéric Montagnon (translated into English on the RudeBaguette), Romain Dillet on TechCrunch and Alban Denoyel, French entrepreneur in New York.
All of their responses touched upon the point that the French entrepreneurs weren’t “fleeing”, that they’re taking advantage of the valuable opportunity to expand their horizon; few things are better for personal and professional growth than living and working abroad for an extended period of time. Full disclosure: the author of this post is an American who’s being living abroad (China, France, Mexico, Italy) since 2002, notably loving his recent experience in France as the community manager at Evercontact! 🙂
Romain Dillet sums up the value of “international mobility” perfectly in the conclusion of his post:
When you are lucky enough to have the chance to easily move from one country to another, you should jump on the opportunity. You will learn a lot.  Seeing that more French people are making the leap is a great sign [and] being flexible enough to move abroad is becoming France’s greatest strength in tech.
And yet, after having gone abroad, coming back to France is a great decision as the startup scene is indeed thriving, and not just in Paris (which was all the same ranked 11th strongest startup ecosystem in the world), but in Nantes, Lyon, Bordeaux and more!
So what’s going on in the French tech scene? It seems like a new accelerator, VC fund or coworking spot pops up every few months, and each one is somehow cooler and huslting more than the one before! Check out TheFamily, 50Partners, LeCamping, Paris-Incubateurs, Pepinière 27, l’Accelerateur, Agoranov and many more. The French entrepreneurs themselves certainly deserve a tip of the hat, and here are the 20 hottest under 30!
Everyone of course knows LeWeb, Paris’s world renown tech conference, but just like accelerators and VC Funds, every year there are new and amazing conferences on the scene. In the next 6 weeks alone you could go to:
The Hello Tomorrow Challenge, a startup competition drawing 1200 candidates and bringing the 25 semi-finalists to Paris to pitch in front of thousands, in addition to a day of speakers like:
- Massimo Banzi, Cofounder & Inventor ARDUINO PROJECT
- Demis Hassabis, Artificial Intelligence Guru & CEO DEEPMIND,
- Ellen Jorgensen, Leading Biohacker & Cofounder GENSPACE
- Bill Liao, Investor Superstar SOS Ventures,
- Jean Baptiste Rudelle, CEO & Big Data Guru CRITEO
- and many more touching upon the cutting edge science of #3D_Printing #Connected_objects #Robotics #Personalized_medecine #Big_Data #Smart_cities #Cleantechs #Synthetic_biology #DIY #Biohacking #Drones.
Ouishare bringing together 1000 collaborative economy visionaries for three days of conference, co-creating, connecting and exploring how collaborative communities are transforming cities, organizations and civic action all over the world.
J-1 by Presse-Citron on May 27th an “informal” meetup of 200 entrepreneurs with Google for Entrepreneurs and Microsoft BizSpark to get to the bottom of “As an entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night” and the solutions that’ll get you past those challenges. Oh, and our CEO, Philippe Laval, will be speaking there on running a lean startup 🙂
So, yes the community is strong and growing, but that’s only part of the reason that becoming a tech entrepreneur in France is a great choice. I asked our CEO Philippe to share his POV and he quickly shot off these 3 reasons.
1) Quality of engineers. Wonderful talent while the salaries are not sky-rocketing like what you’ll find in the Valley and elsewhere.
2) Quality of Life. Paris is the number one tourist destination for a reason — beautiful city, history, culture, amazing food, and there’s a pace of life that’s truly enjoyable. We work hard and play hard (ie unlimited vacation).
3) The government truly supports innovation with programs like Crédit d’Impôt Recherche, Jeune Entreprise Innovante, and strong subsidies for R&D projects.
Long story short, we wonder what motivated the New York Times to go for a round of French-bashing which wasn’t the first time this year, but actually the 2nd occasion in 2 months!. In the end, we know that the startup scene is popping in France, and that’s not going to stop anytime soon, nor are the smart French entrepreneurs that choose to live in London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York, Boston and all of those other happening scenes… and should they come back to France or not, it all amounts to a ton of wonderful cross-pollination leading to a healthier global economy, right!