Wikipedia Initiative: Plan B

This is a quick follow-up on the Wikipedia initiative, which has proven to be quite interesting.

Yoocasa: my guinea pig.

Some companies are simply too young for Wikipedia. My first start-up to join the cause, Yoocasa, was removed after only a few hours. Sad, but true. Which is surprising because I have seen many companies on Wikipedia that don’t have any reason to be there other than they have made their own page (one SF company in particular I am dying to put here but then I’d be responsible for their page getting deleted).

A few things to remember.

Anyone that has noteworthy clients, references, stats or stories should have no problem being on Wikipedia – as long as they include them. Remember that Wikipedia is about links. It is a lot easier to delete information that is just floating by itself than something that is tagged in additional articles and perhaps includes additional links.

A little linkage.

Take for example French company Musiwave that was acquired by Microsoft for $46 million. No Wikipedia page – not even in French. However, if you search for Musiwave founder Gilles Babinet, he has a page. Naturally, one would assume then that all the companies he has been involved in (Eyeka, MXP4, Digicompanion) would have their own page as a result. Wrong.  The only one to have a Wikipedia page is MXP4 and it isn’t even linked to in his article.

2 sides of the same coin.

All the company links in his article (with the exception of Microsoft) link directly to the company page – which is another way to leverage Wikipedia for marketing. But in the case of Eyeka, a Wikipedia page was created and removed – because it was apparently considered to be too much of an advertisement.

Easier said than done: the French exception.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: French companies perhaps have to be somewhat more careful than others when creating Wikipedia pages because they are more likely to get accused of being advertisements. Kind of like what happens in the metro to innocent poster ads.

Obvioulsy we didn’t see Eyeka’s page before it was removed – it could’ve very well been inappropriate for Wikipedia. But this is perhaps why French companies should definitely pay extra special attention to what info they decide to include and how they link the page to other pages.

Now for Plan B: Crunchbase.

I still encourage all French companies to try Wikipedia because a deleted page leaves you no worse off than before. But for anyone that is in search of a Plan B, apply to Crunchbase – which is likely to be a little more friendly to baby start-ups than Wikipedia.


Bienvenue en France: Welcome to Exitland

Alright, it’s high time we set the record straight. I met with yet another French entrepreneur this morning that seemed to think France was void of decent exits. Well, guess again.

Have you seen me?

In the US, whenever a child or a person goes missing, his or her face shows up on a milk carton (or at least, it used to). Perhaps we should do the same with French companies –  not because they are MIA but because French entrepreneurs seem to forget that there are home-grown companies that make acquisitions. Ok, maybe French companies are somewhat less carnivorous than Microsoft and Google, but that doesn’t mean their acquisitions get to be ignored.

So, let’s take a minute to look at some fairly recent opposite-direction acquisitions from French Exitland:

1. Vivendi.

French Vivendi threw $18.9 billion at Californian Activision in 2007. Let’s not forget they also own American Universal Music Group and 20% of NBC Universal. Not too shabby…

2. Publicis.

A step down from the billions but still a rather heavy price tag: France’s Publicis spent $530 million to acquire Razorfish from Microsoft in August 2009.

3. Dassault.

In 2005 and 2006, French Daussalt went on a shopping spree spending $413 million and $410 million on American Abaqus and MatrixOne respectively. And in case you missed it, they also just spent $600 million to acquire the PLM activities from a little American company called IBM. Hot.

And the list goes on…

French entrepreneurs: stop trashing your own turf.

French entrepreneurs love to tell me that Americans are good at selling themselves and the French are – well, not. Ok, point taken – Americans are possibly the closest thing to genetically modified salespeople. It’s almost weird. But why the French continue to trash their own turf is beyond me. Plus, half the statements French entrepreneurs make about the French techosphere are either founded on thin ice or gross exaggerations: “France is the third world of tech”, “there is no real tech ecosystem in France”, blah blah blah. Oh, the irony. 

Want to see the third world of the tech industry? Go to Wyoming.

France goes to Silicon Valley: French Tech Tour 2010

Just a quick note for French tech companies interested in developing activites in Silicon Valley or establishing relationships with some of the big US tech stars:

La Mission Economique and UbiFrance are now accepting applications for the 2010 French Tech Tour.

From June 4-11, 15 leading French companies hand-picked by the following list of leading IT companieswill have a chance to meet with:

Adobe, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, eBay, Fujitsu, Google, Intel Capital, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Sony, Sprint, Symantec and Verizon.

French companies can apply online through March 1, 2010. More information can be found here (in French).

Companies that have participated in the past include: A-Volute, CodaSystem, BinarySec, Smart Quantum, Vision SAS, Digitrad (, Orcanthus, Paytap, Taztag, Calinda Software, Gigatribe, Twinsoft, Delcrea, Bobex, Exaprotect,, TellMeWhere, NewScape Technology and Momindum.