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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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

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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Come on Europe, Startups are for Losers.

No matter how much we try to avoid it, people seem to always revert back to comparing the European tech scene with that of Silicon Valley. In many ways, it’s a bit silly and irrational. Like comparing apples and oranges. After all, the European market is highly fragmented in dozens of ways and faces numerous challenges that the US market does not. Then again, it’s a necessary step in understanding why entrepreneurship thrives in certain environments and not others. (By the way, I’ll be moderating a panel on this very topic at the Advance Conference in Germany later this month.)

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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