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.