Zipcar Founder: “France is leading innovation in transportation”

Last week, as many of you know, I hosted the first of a 3-part conference series on innovation called Les Matinales. We had some incredible speakers, from companies like Airbnb, Uber, Stardoll, Le Petit Ballon, Eyeka, Skimm! and more. And we’ve got 2 more editions lined up for September! Since the event was ever-so-slightly outside of Paris (Ivry-sur-Seine), many people tuned in via live stream to watch. But for anyone who didn’t manage to attend virtually, here’s a quick round up of what happened…

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Does France need a Startup Visa?

On June 9th, the Economist published an article on how the US government needs to issue more visas to foreign entrepreneurs. The article went on to cite a few examples of countries that are far more welcoming to foreign innovators, including the UK, Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. Naturally, the  US – a country known practically as a country of immigrants –  has many foreigners to thank for much of its success stories. But how about France?

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Entrepreneurs, if you could change one thing about France what would it be?

Earlier this week, something amazing happened in London. Startup Caravan hosted a French startup competition – in London. Yes, London. 10 French startups were picked to hop across the English Channel and pitch for the London tech community. While there are numerous international and pan-European startup competitions that allow startups from wherever to pitch, this was one of the first times a clear effort was made to introduce some of France’s top tech startups to the UK startup crowd.

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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.

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Does Europe’s tech scene enjoy self-bashing?

Recently, I’ve noticed a new flood of negativity building up in Europe’s startup scene. Sure, the Euro isn’t doing particularly well and France (and apparently Will Smith?) is a little uneasy with what François Hollande’s government has in store. And Europe isn’t culturally as over-the-top optimistic as its transatlantic neighbor. Still, sometimes it feels like Europe’s tech scene enjoys a bit of self-bashing, whether it be about entrepreneurs’ incapability to “dream big” or VC’s ROI.

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What the new French President means for startups

Yes, that’s right, over the weekend France elected a new President, François Hollande. It came as a bit of a surprise to many, as the country has not has a Socialist President since François Mitterrand in 1995 – nor has a President only served 1 term since Valéry Giscard-d’Estaing left office in 1981. Still, clearly France made the decision to move on and turn a new page. So, what does this mean for startups?

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The 2012 list: 13 Hot French Entrepreneurs Under 30

For the last 2 years, I’ve been publishing an annual list of some of France’s hottest entrepreneurs under 30. You can check out the lists for 2010 and 2011. Usually I pick all the people for the list myself. However, this year, I decided to take suggestions from the crowd. I got an overwhelming number of suggestions and I want to thank everyone for their contributions. Just as a quick reminder, if someone has already appeared on this list in previous years, they unfortunately cannot be re-selected.

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