Man, Those French Rappers Love Their Startups

This is just a random post on something that crossed my mind rather randomly the other day. You may’ve heard of Snoop Dogg’s gig with leading social games publisher Zynga. And if you didn’t, well, all you need to know is that it involved Zynga hiring Snoop Dogg to blow up a car for the launch of a new game, Mafia Wars. Whether or not you love the idea, Zynga did it. And it got noticed.

Orelsan is to Facebook what Snoop Dogg is to Zynga.

So if Snoop Dogg is out there promoting Zynga and Kanye West is showing-up for random concerts at Facebook headquarters,we might as well put French rapper Orelsan in the same boat. It’s not exactly the same because – unlike Snoop & Co.- Orelsan and Toxic Avenger probably weren’t approached by Zuckerberg or Ternovskiy to feature Facebook and Chatroulette in their video for the song N’importe Comment (yes, I translated Alexia Tsotsis’s post for TechCrunch France on this).

Read More Man, Those French Rappers Love Their Startups

Does French Innovation Need a Few More Famous Faces?

This subject has actually been on my mind for a while, triggered by the first time I saw MC Hammer at a conference in San Francisco (pretty sure it was the AlwaysOn Standford Summit in 2008) and thought it was a total joke. The man had announced the launch of his start-up DanceJam.com and all I can remember thinking to myself, hashtags included:

#WTF is a hiphop celebrity from the 80s doing trying to mingle with the Silicon Valley crowd?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c4L4CPfQY8]

(Watch the video and then imagine it playing in your head as you casually see him speaking on stage at a tech conference…)

Read More Does French Innovation Need a Few More Famous Faces?

Dear French Entrepreneurs : Please get out of line

Your average American probably seems like a good rule follower. They stop at red lights, know how to wait in line and are smiles-all-around. On the other hand, not-so-much for your average French. A little striking and complaining screams probably screams “trouble maker” across the Atlantic. Plus, they’re not good at waiting in line. Just ask French start-ups like DelivrMe and JaimeAttendre.

JUST DO IT ?

So you’d think that with all that noise, French entrepreneurs would be the first to throw themselves in the deep end. But no. Seems the Nike slogan still has some work to do. Actually, there are a few things that everyone seems to point out when it comes to comparing French entrepreneurs to their American counterparts

Read More Dear French Entrepreneurs : Please get out of line

If you thought France = Paris, you thought wrong

Summer is finally here and Paris looks more than ever like San Francisco’s winter months of June, July and August. Sure, I get a kick out of seeing the tourists freak-out because the sun is MIA and they’re wandering the streets in their beach clothing. But what I’m actually referring to is the local start-up environment, which continues to dramatically improve daily. There are tech events left and right (yes, EVEN IN THE SUMMER) and I honestly can’t keep up with all the funding that’s being announced. Silicon Vallée, is that you?

Read More If you thought France = Paris, you thought wrong

Attack of the MyMajor Clones – a French Malady?

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.

Enter MyMajor.

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?

13 hot French entrepreneurs under 30

I’ve been wanting to do a post on this topic for a while – because whenever someone tells me that it’s insanely difficult to launch a start-up in France, I chuckle to myself and think: “Hey, if 20-something-year-olds are doing it fresh out of school, it can’t be that hard, right?” I also have recently noticed that becoming an entrepreneur from a young age is becoming more à la mode – so here is my list to set the record straight.

Hot or not?

The trouble is there are actually a lot of young entrepreneurs out there. This list is insanely far from exhaustive and is just a few names that I think are likely to stick around for a while. As the entrepreneurial community is predominantly male, I should also probably clarify that by “hot”  I am referring strictly to their start-ups. After all, this is not my attempt to be the Franco-version of Valleywag. PS. You’ll notice that I’ve chosen 8 companies and 13 names.

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Best of French Start-ups on YouTube

Ah, I should say best of French start-ups on DailyMotion, shouldn’t I? Truth is, I wanted to use DailyMotion videos but a lot of the content wasn’t on their site. Tsk tsk French start-ups for not supporting each others’ businesses! Then again, in this Google-dominated internet world, who can really blame them.

YouTube, iTube.

I just thought I’d do a quick post on 5 of my favorite YouTube videos from French start-ups.

Deezer. (@deezer)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YilD5Q3jxSs]

This is hands down my favorite French start-up video on YouTube. It tells the story of Deezer’s creation, the legal obstacles they had to overcome with music on the internet. Great music, great story, great animation.

Regioneo. (@regioneo)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAXtsRI-B4k] Read More Best of French Start-ups on YouTube

Pardon my French

The French for some reason get a lot of crap about their English. Ok, it’s got a little ring to it but that’s not really anything to write home about.

Accents are charming. Period.

What’s not charming, however, is limited market reach – which you unfortunately get if you’re going to limit yourself to a non-English language. I can’t even count the number of times I have discussed the topic – if you want to go global in today’s world, you kind of have to speak English, too. Duh.

Dictionary bilingue.

I actually think that French start-ups understand that they need to be bilingual. France has made remarkable progress, linguistically – and the TechCrunch Paris event that was held entirely in English last week goes to prove it. Plus, I think I’ve brought up before that there are numerous local start-ups, like Silentale, that don’t even have French on their websites.

I still, however, stand by Deezer’s French Twitter account – which was attacked by Robert Scoble last year at LeWeb. Seriously, would Deezer have 11 million users if their Twitter didn’t address the local population? Don’t think so. I sound like a broken record…

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A Penny For Your Thoughts?

This is a really quick post regarding this week’s upcoming TechCrunch Paris event at LaCantine on March 24th. The event is currently sold out. Huh? As I’m moderating the women’s panel, I thought I would take the opportunity to get any lingering questions/comments prior to the event. Take a look at who is on the […]

Read More A Penny For Your Thoughts?