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
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
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?
Every now and then, European entrepreneurs love to complain about how investors. The typical complaint goes something like this: European VCs are risk-averse, there’s no money on this side of the Atlantic and no European equivalent of Sand Hill Road. But every now and then, entrepreneurs love to innovate their way out of this potential problem.
Read More French Startup Scales Up is Groupon for bootstrappers
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?
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.
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
I get lots of local entrepreneurs contacting me, wondering who exactly in France has money in the bank. So just like with the Le Best of French Blogs post that I wrote-up a while ago, it’s perhaps time for a French A-list (or angel-list). Well, here it is kids. These are some names (in no particular order) that I’d want to be talking to if I was looking to fund my company in France. Obviously, some of these people are also behind funds like ISAI, Jaina and Kima but that doesn’t mean they don’t also invest à titre personnel.
Read More The French A-list
Seems everyone these days wants to be another Groupon, Foursquare – or even Chatroulette. And I can’t blame them. When a model works in one country or industry, why not just modify it a bit, apply it to a new market and hope for it to take off? Sounds like a game plan to me.
In France, one group of clones has sprung off of the success of MyMajorCompany (MMC). For anyone who doesn’t know, the company is essentially a participative music label. Translation: crowd-sourced funding for music production. Yes, that means any old nobody with a bank account and a minimum of €10 can essentially become a music producer once the total funding for an artist hits €100k. And to make a long story short, the model took off in France, is now distributed by Warner Music France and has produced some local best-sellers, like Grégoire (don’t ask my opinion on his music please). FYI: this is yesterday’s news in France, as the company has been around since 2007 and started making headlines shortly after.
Read More Attack of the MyMajor Clones – a French Malady?
I’m considering starting a weekly tradition where I give a shoutout to a French company that is doing something I find particularly innovative. Well, this week that company is Lyon-based Regioneo – who launched a user-investment campaign, which I detailed in TechCrunch Europe. Why is there no translation for “bon appétit” in English? In case […]
Read More Smart Money: French companies get creative with funding