Iranian Startups: Looks a lot like France to me

Disclaimer: since about 2012 I’ve been following Iran’s rising startup scene. It first started with a few Startup Weekend events here and there. But I’ve seen the ecosystem really take off – and to an incredible degree and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. So – even though I usually cover France and Europe on this blog – I thought I would share a big of Iran’s rising ecosystem with you.

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The Evolution of the French Investment Landscape

France is not usually the first European country that comes to mind when it comes to investing in startups, especially since the arrival of socialist President Francois Hollande in 2012 and the ensuing Pigeon movement; France’s entrepreneurs revolted against government plans to double the capital gains tax to 60%. And of course, stories like the DailyMotion saga do not help. Still, France’s tech startups are not void of funding. In 2014, the top 10 investment deals amount to over €220 million. Furthermore, several French tech startups including Deezer, Blablacar andSigfox have announced $100 million rounds of funding in the last few years. So, if it’s such a bad place to invest, what exactly is going on?

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No France, the problem is not Newsweek

By now, just about everyone has heard of that Newsweek article that all the French are allegedly going nuts about. You know, the one that states that all the entrepreneurs are leaving France since Hollande took over as President because of the whopping 75% tax rate. You know, it’s that article that plays on that over-played joke that the French don’t have a word for “entrepreneur” and struggles to find a French equivalent for Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Yawn.

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Afterthoughts on Lunch with the French President

As many of you know, I had the incredible honor of being invited to a lunch with the French President earlier this week alongside some of France’s biggest names in tech. That’s right, little American me was invited to discuss the state of the French ecosystem. If you’re thinking “huh?”, don’t worry, I was too 🙂 I was sat around the table with the likes of Jacques-Antoine Granjon (Vente-privée), Marc Simoncini (Meetic), Marie Ekeland (Elaia Partners), Fleur Pellerin (Minister of Digital Economy) and other people I beyond admire. Oh, right, and then there was the French President himself.

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