The Truth: French VCs ARE on Twitter

One of my first posts was called “France, Meet Twitter” where I happened to very slightly criticize French VCs for their absence on Twitter.

Well, I take it back.

I discovered some very high-profile French VCs on Twitter, namely Guillaume Lautour (@G_Lautour) of AGF Private Equity. Even though I haven’t come across the Twitter accounts of anyone from Partech International, Sofinnova or Innovacom, it’s nice to see that there are French VCs making the move. Still, after the Founder’s Club event I went to on January 26th, only 2 of the 7 VCs I met had Twitter accounts (either personal accounts or accounts for their firm).

But wait, there is another pleasant surprise: the young VC.

Now here is where I get really impressed. There seems to be a younger generation of VCs in France and this generation is definitely active on Twitter. I’ve stumbled on youngsters from 360 Capital Partners, Alven Capital and Ventech for the moment, and I’m sure there are more to come.

So we can trash 2 stereotypes.

First, of the French financial services sector being over hierarchical and second, of there being no French VCs on Twitter.

Check out my French VCs list on Twitter and feel free to make suggestions for VCs to include.

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France, meet Twitter.

LeWeb came and left Paris and we couldn’t even get President Sarkozy – or Baby Sarkozy (Jean), for that matter – a verified Twitter account. Sad.

Especially after Robert Scoble’s post-LeWeb rant (which made me cringe because it seemed so Silicon Valley-centric and arrogant), I would’ve thought French companies would’ve tuned into the need to get on Twitter ASAP.

 A decent number of French start-ups actually were on Twitter prior to LeWeb.

Some (about 160) of which are included in Goojet’s Cedric Giorgi’s Twitter List. Still, I’ve been coming across more and more French start-ups sans Twitter account recently.

This doesn’t mean that US start-ups have mastered the art of tweeting, however.

Soon-to-go-public Solyndra, for example, is one Silicon Valley company without a Twitter account. But it looks like someone is already squatting their name, which brings me to my next point: even if you’re not going to tweet, get on Twitter and claim your account name ASAP.  I am more than certain that someone is going to come along and snatch it up if I don’t get there first (yes, Twitter squatting is one of the less original and more lamentable business ideas I’ve had recently).

What makes Silicon Valley unique is the quick adoption of different technologies.

Therefore, from a professional standpoint, being slow to adopt these new means of communication may send the wrong message. I’ve been particularly disappointed to see Invest in France (and other French governmental organizations) MIA from Twitter, while Ireland, Canada, the UK and even Spain have already registered their accounts (Spain is yet to tweet, but still). Germany, contrary to what I would’ve thought, seems to be in the same slow boat with France. 

Now, the only other finger I’m going to point is at French VCs, mainly Sofinnova, Innovacom and Partech. 

If you have an office in Silicon Valley and encourage new technology growth and adoption, I would have thought you’d be that much more inclined to get on Twitter just to try it out. And you may not care about Twitter but I bet some of your portfolio companies wouldn’t mind. That being said, I’d also love to see tweets from the CIA’s Silicon Valley-based venture group, In-Q-Tel.

Nonetheless, there are a few French organizations that I would like to commend for their Twitter accounts:

 Innovation Cluster Cap Digital, SME Support Organization OSEO (wouldn’t hurt to tweet a bit more), Paris-based Incubator and Coworking space LaCantine and Networking group Open Coffee Paris. I’m also rather proud of business school, HEC  and Paris’s public transportation account.

There. Now that I’ve got that out of my system, to the rest of France, please meet Twitter.