US press ignores French startup successes, and here’s proof.

Prior to the election of French President François Hollande on May 6th, successful French serial entrepreneur and investor, Marc Simoncini, threatened to leave France. Citing various issues primarily with France’s wealth tax (not to be confused with the 75% tax), the founder of Meetic said France could become the last place any entrepreneur would want to be. And guess what – the US press went wild.

“France Entrepreneurs Flee.”

I love some of the sensational headlines the journalists pick. “France entrepreneurs flee from Hollande wealth rejection” says BusinessWeek. Really? I don’t know a single French entrepreneur who has made plans to leave yet. Other publications like Business Insider chimed in with “3 reasons why you should expect France’s wealthy elite to move to London.” Even though the article states that certain real estate agents are seeing an increase in French inquiries about London properties, it also happens to coincide with the Euro’s instability. Not just François Hollande coming into office.

Simoncini’s startup raises €17 million.

What’s hilarious is that right around the time that the international press was going a bit crazy about Marc Simoncini’s statements about leaving France, he happened to announce that he had secured €17 million ($21 million) in funding for his new venture, Sensee. Not only is this the startup of one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in France but the round led by French VC funds Partech International, IDInvest Parters and Orkos Capital happens to also be much larger than most early stage deals (Sensee was launched in private beta in October 2011). But to my knowledge, not a single US or international tech blog published the news. Not TechCrunch, not VentureBeat – no one. Could it be that the international press just prefers ignoring the good news that comes out of France?

14 thoughts on “US press ignores French startup successes, and here’s proof.

  1. Or could it be that the French enterprises don’t publicize this sort of news broadly or loudly enough using the traditional methods?

    • True. however, if you’re going to publish an article citing Simoncini saying he is threatening to leave – it’s a little odd to not do your research and see that he’s also just raised 17M.

  2. Also, Marc Simoncini said he might personally relocate to another country, but would still be professionally active in France. Pretty much the same as Edouardo Saverin, except the later did more than just “warn”!

  3. Probably because Simoncini is an arrogant and cocky entrepreneur with no ethics ?
    Or maybe because he lured other french optical websites with his jaina vc cover to get their business plan and infos before launching sensee ?

    The sadest story here is actually that to be able to raise this amount of money, in france, you have to be already a successfull and rich entrepreneur…

    • Hi Niklas
      Sorry you feel this way about Marc – but I don’t think that is why the US didn’t publish anything about Sensee’s funding. That would be disappointing if Marc did “steal” a business plan from another entrepreneur through Jaina but I don’t have any current proof to support that claim.

      Otherwise, I don’t agree with your point about the successful and rich entrepreneurs raising money. One example that I love is that of Eric Bennephtali, the founder of MediaStay, who raised 15 million last year. And then there are tons of examples of non-famous entrepreneurs that have raised smaller amounts, but raised nonetheless.

  4. While I stand on my position expressed in the Bloomberg piece you refer to, I can only regret the spin put to this article dictated by much more by what “sells” today rather than by an honest transcription of reality. Controversy gets more traction – no news there…

    With regards to your main point, I actually think that the French scene is actually quite well represented in the international press allowing Paris to emerge as one of the 3 European entrepreneurs hot spots and that the Sensee case is an isolated situation which is quite unfortunate as clearly this is one of the biggest VC round in Europe and should get significant coverage as such.

    Finally, as I may then be the 1st French entrepreneur you know (of) virtually who will be leaving, so to clarify tax is an irrelevant technicality in this debate (particularly when you haven’t made fortunes yet !) as market opportunity remains the 1st motivation for my departure ! When you invest all your money in a new business, you want to put all chances on your side, even if that implies moving…

    I say this, convinced more than ever, that my country, France, is worth its taxes and unlike Saverin, I would never give up my citizenship for such (or any) reasons.

    • To your first point – this is exactly where I am annoyed. Why is “successful French entrepreneur who threatens to leave France secures 17 million in funding” not relevant for foreign audiences? Why is it only the negative stuff that people want to read?

      I think France is getting there and getting great coverage – in the tech/startup press. In mainstream/business press, there are still many articles that bash France as an anti-business, un-entrepreneurial environment.

      Sensee is not an isolated case – but it is a good example because when you have $21 million in funding and Simoncini threatening to leave FR, everyone picks up the story on his wanting to leave FR. Sure, people will say that it is because there was no English press release – but I doubt Marc issued an English press release stating that he would leave France either…

      Well, this makes you the first (and still only) entrepreneur I know that is leaving for this reason! I hope that wherever you go, you are able to succeed with what you do and I’m sad that you feel you cannot do it in France. Glad you’re keeping your nationality though 🙂

  5. US blogs just enjoy bashing France and explain in a patronizing way that France is the last soviet country in Europe…Roxanne’s point is very accurate : Gigaom wrote an article about Simoncini last week and did not even mention the name of his new company. So far, no entrepreneurs has left France and investments in tech companies have not declined : La Fourchette, Sensee, Menlook etc…
    And Niklas Chavernier : Jaina is not VC cover, I am very surprised to hear that. Could you be more specific?

  6. We here in the USA had other big tech news to follow around the same time: that ridiculous IPO of something called Facebook, and the cofounder Eduardo Saverin who not only moved out of the USA but renounced his American citizenship to avoid income taxes. These stories are much more “important”

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