French tech: startup rankings, mega funding and early acquisitions

After several years (!) of near silence, I decided earlier this year that I would write a bit more often in 2020. However, I wasn’t quite sure what to write about for this post. Since the beginning of the year, quite a bit has happened, including:

the announcement of the French Tech 120 list
several gender diversity-related announcements (like the parental act)
3 French companies that announced mega rounds of funding (Qonto, ManoMano, EcoVadis) and €600-800 million raised in January overall
the launch of Qui veut être mon associé ?, essentially the French version of TV show Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den 

I feel that all of these elements demonstrate very well how the French ecosystem is changing. So I guess I’ll comment on just about all of them.

Read More French tech: startup rankings, mega funding and early acquisitions

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?

Read More The Evolution of the French Investment Landscape

Quick acquisitions: a new trend for France?

I’m sure I don’t need to remind any of you when Instagram was acquired for $1 billion by Facebook earlier this year. There were many things about the acquisition that made the world go crazy. But aside from the insane valuation for “a company with no revenue and 10 employees” and the fact that Mark Z was signing the check, the other tiny detail that had everyone going nuts was the company’s age; at the time of the acquisition, Instagram 551-day-old Instagram had not even celebrated it’s 2nd birthday.

Read More Quick acquisitions: a new trend for France?

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.

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

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.

Read More US press ignores French startup successes, and here’s proof.

The Father of Modern Venture Capital was F-R-E-N-C-H

Usually when I tell people I’m doing a Masters degree in International Political Economy, they look at me funny and follow-up with a “Huh, I guess that doesn’t really have much to do with tech.” And for a long time, I felt this way too. The IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, sovereign debt, currency crises, oil shocks, etc. didn’t really seem to overlap much with startups and innovation. But then again, startups and innovation are at the heart of economic development and growth. Therefore it’s almost impossible not to draw connections between the two fields.

Read More The Father of Modern Venture Capital was F-R-E-N-C-H