Pixmania founders: one to leave France, the other to launch local fund

From the moment that François Hollande became the President of France earlier this year, the international press has been waiting for entrepreneurs to leave the country. Hollande’s 75% tax rule caused quite an uproar in the French community – and even Will Smith said he found it unpalatable. However, this brilliant excuse for a little France bashing has led quite a few journalists astray, as they casually overlook the fact the entrepreneurs threatening to leave also happened to be raising massive rounds of funding to continue doing business at home (oops). I found all of this to be quite hilarious since I didn’t know a single French entrepreneur that was packing up and leaving the country. Well, until now.

Pixmania cofounder says Au Revoir.

To my knowledge, the first high profile entrepreneur to officially announce that he is leaving the country is Pixmania cofounder Jean-Emile Rosenblum.

I actually first heard the news from Marc Simoncini on Twitter on August 22nd (above).


In an interview with BFM, Rosenblum explained that his decision to leave France is actually not a result of Hollande’s 75% tax – as he is apparently not concerned by it. Instead, he says that he finds the “entrepreneurial climate” in France not to be favorable to business and wealth, and therefore he’s decided to leave. The main example that he addressed in this particular interview was the French wealth tax, or ISF. I’ve reached out to him to see if he’d be willing to provide further details on his decision.

Pixmania turns British.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Pixmania, the 12 year old company is ranked amongst France’s leading e-commerce success stories with the likes of PriceMinister, Vente-Privée and more. The retail site founded by brothers Jean-Emile and Steve Rosenblum operates in more than 26 countries worldwide. Recently UK’s Dixon’s fully acquired the company – but in an interview with Le Figaro, Jean-Emile revealed that this had been the plan since 2006.

One brother out, the other one in?

But Jean-Emile and his brother have done more than simply create one of France’s leading Internet businesses; in 2008, the duo launched Dot Corp Asset Management and invested in a number of companies, including French Spotify rival Deezer. While Jean-Emile has been very clear about his desire to leave France, his brother Steve has actually been said to be preparing a second fund for Dot Corp. Looks like not everyone is leaving France after all.

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7 thoughts on “Pixmania founders: one to leave France, the other to launch local fund

  1. Entrepeneurs are pragmatic people. As long as no one really knows what is going to happen tax wise, few will leave. However, once the fine prints are known (sometime around October), that could become very different. In a nutshell, the jury is still out for a few more weeks.

  2. ““entrepreneurial climate” in France not to be favorable to business and wealth”
    I can’t remember the last time I heard this. Oh wait, that was today.
    Because, you know, nobody, no entrepreneur has ever been successful in France.
    And of course no one is trying to build a company/startup in France.
    Seriously I’m fed up of this bunch of people who after they managed to put aside some stockpile of money, start to whine about how higky taxed, and hostile their home country is to them. Because you know, there’s no rich and successful people in France.

  3. As expressed previously, I couldn’t agree more with Jean-Emile. Taxes are a technicality and believe it or not, being a French resident today, his wealth is being taxed so the debate isn’t there. No one is fundamentally criticizing taxation on accumulated wealth. Taxation on wealth to be created is the source of many entrepreneurs (including me) speaking up.

    That said, many other factors contribute to this climate being truly not favorable: a crappy macro situation in Europe, limited perspectives for the french market (which itself is already limited), lack of visibility on taxation… Will the loi TEPA measures be maintained for example? would anyone deny the negative impact on startup financing should this regulation disappear ?

    One reality which cannot be debated is the fact that for the last couple of years, there has never as many wannabe entrepreneurs, young or less young. The key to our economical growth lies there and nowhere else. Any threat to that trend is a danger. Tax at the end of the day are only % which apply on a basis. If that basis keeps shrinking, well guess what, even with a 100% rate, it will be a lose/lose situation.

    Does it seem rational to anyone, that an entrepreneur, which has managed to secure a funding round on a multi-million valuation, who probably has invested all he has, who probably isn’t paying himself, that he ends up paying wealth tax.

    To conclude on a business analogy. When your turnover decreases, you can certainly reduce cost but what matters most is for customers to come back and spend. Now in order to do that, I don’t know of many business who increase their prices in order to stimulate growth of sales…

  4. Sorry but I live in the UK and help French entrepreneurs to settle here in the UK. There are dozens contacting me and leaving….France.

    FYI there are about 100 companies like mine and they are all overbooked !!! So… at the end of day, looks like lods of entrepreneurs are leaving France.

    From the one-man shop to Pixmania’s founder….

    • Hi Delmer,

      Thanks for your comment! I definitely hope you didn’t think that I wasn’t aware of French entrepreneurs starting companies outside of France! This has been going on for ages – there are lots of French entrepreneurs in the US, the UK, Germany, China, etc. – for various reasons they prefer to leave France to start a company elsewhere.

      In this article, I am talking about entrepreneurs who are leaving specifically as a result of François Hollande coming into office and the policies proposed. This is (potentially) what is new here, and that it concerns a high-profile entrepreneur.

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