Why more funds should consider launching scout programs in Europe

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a growing interest in angel or scout programmes on behalf of European funds. Atomico, Backed VC, Blossom Capital and Ada Ventures have been among the first Europe-based funds to venture into this territory. While there are additional funds that are rumoured to be toying with the idea, I find it odd that the concept has seen only limited development in Europe. After all, such programmes could prove to be truly game changing for local investment — and the European ecosystem as a whole.

How is it possible that the first VC angel or scout programmes weren’t launched in Europe until 2018 — a full nine years after similar programmes had made their debut in the US? And why primarily with only a handful of London-based firms? 

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Are European Startups Avoiding the Topic of Downsizing?

We’ve already read about tons of startup layoffs. 1000 people at Yelp and another 1000 at Magic Leap, almost 1000 at Lyft, 45% of the workforce at Eventbrite, 30% at Bird. Layoffs Tracker has over 300 companies listed – including the likes of Houzz, Lending Club, MindBody, The Wing and more. Yet a majority of the companies mentioned are in the US, which is perhaps not surprising given that government support for furlough is not what it is in Europe.

In Europe, the perhaps most prominent startups to announce layoffs have been UK-based so far: Deliveroo, who cut staff by 15% this morning, or Monzo, who announced the closing of it’s 165-person office in Las Vegas, etc. That said, there are prominent startups in France (I’ll avoid mentioning names) that have had to downsize and yet there is absolutely no mention of it in the press. A few people mentioned a similar situation in other European countries (Germany and the Nordics, for example). So my question is: why?

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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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Oh French Startup Crowd, You’re Growing Up!

I thought I would poke my head up into the blogging world again. Clearly, it’s been a while. A long while. I realized this when I attended Paris Startup Weekend at La Mutinerie this past weekend. Honestly, it was the first time I could really see how much the French startup crowd is changing. The teams all pitched in English (and did brilliant, hilarious pitches), they had killer ideas. It made me feel like France’s ecosystem is starting to grow up.

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Which French Entrepreneurs Are Actually Leaving France?

When President François Hollande took office earlier this year, I wrote a brief post on what this would mean for France – or more specifically, French startups. As a result of the President’s proposed 75% tax, many of France’s wealthier entrepreneurs and investors were rumored to be planning their relocation to neighboring Belgium, Switzerland, the UK or even the US (for those who can secure a visa) – including Pixmania cofounder Jean-Emile Rosenblum, which I wrote about here. However, naturally not all of the rumored departures are true. So here’s a look at which of France’s top entrepreneurs are actually leaving the country.

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Orée: The Wooden Keyboard Made in France

So after a period of quasi-silence, I’m back at the blogging wheel. And what better to kick it off with, than Orée’s wooden keyboard. I first mentioned it on Twitter on Monday and discovered lots of followers not only loved it but also had lots of questions: is it waterproof? Is a French “AZERTY” layout available? How do you clean it? Finally, I decided to get in touch with founder Julien Salanave and get your questions answered.

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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.

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