Rumors had been turning around the French tech scene for quite a while that French startup Sparrow (which also happens to be my favorite email client of all time) had been in acquisition discussions. And there were rumors that several tech heavyweights had approached the company, which still hasn’t celebrated its 2nd birthday (yes, à la Instagram). But France still got a pleasant surprise when the news broke today that it was Google that would be acquiring the company.
With love, from France.
The Sparrow team has come a LONG way in 2 years. They’ve broken almost all the stereotypes of French startups. They’re not in food, fashion or dating. They don’t have masses of experience (in fact, youngster cofounder Dominique Leca was on this year’s hot entrepreneurs under 30 list). And while they did secure funding with France’s most active business angel – Kima Ventures – they also managed to bring in tech titans like Dave Morin (Path) and Loren Bichter (Tweetie). Selling Sparrow at something like €7 a download, they also didn’t seem too overly concerned with their business model. Just making a killer product.
Google goes French.
One of the last questions in this video is on why Google
has had never acquired a company in France…
This may be a big day for Sparrow, but it’s an even bigger day for Google. At least, in France it is. This marks Google’s first acquisition of a French-based company. And thankfully. Google opened a new office in Paris in December (which President Sarkozy didn’t miss) and shortly after, Eric Schmidt spoke at LeWeb of the opportunity for Google to acquire companies in France. Well, he didn’t say exactly that – but when asked whether Google would be looking to (finally) make local acquisition, he politely agreed it would be more likely. Naturally, I had to be a little skeptical and thought to myself that M&A in France couldn’t be too high on his list. Fortunately, Sparrow proved me wrong – and I hope there will be more to come.
I’d like to personally congratulate Sparrow co-founders Dominique Leca and Hoa Dinh Viet on setting a terrific example for the French startup scene.