Europe, Where Does Innovation Come From?

On Monday, I was hosted a track on creating a cool company at Gotocon (a developer conference) in Aarhus, Denmark. I was rather impressed by the geeky crowd, most of who paid around €2,500 per person to attend the 3-day conference. The price tag and the size definitely made me think of LeWeb – although most of the topics covered were way more technical. But if there was one thing that really caught my attention more than anything else, it was one of the questions that was asked by an attendee.

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The (new) 13 hot French entrepreneurs under 30

It’s funny – one of the more popular posts that I’ve written on this blog was the 13 hot French entrepreneurs under 30 list. It still gets hits and it was published over a year ago. So I figure it’s time to give it a little update for 2 reasons: first, because some of those people are no longer under 30 and also because there are definitely new names to add to the list! Yes, my friends, there has definitely been a dramatic increase in the number of young entrepreneurs in France. So in no particular order, here comes some names that I feel should be added to the list.

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Will The Real French Administration Please Stand Up ?

It’s pretty paradoxical what is happening in France’s startup scene at the moment. On one side of the spectrum, the entrepreneurs, investors and the entire ecosystem seems to be gaining momentum. Several new seed funds were created in the beginning of the year – filling a very obvious gap in the local market and visibly fueling the development of quite a few startups. Then came the various mentorship programs, like the Founder Institute. Followed by the sprouting of regular startup events, like StartinParis, or even Startup Weekend – which is conquering the whole country. The infamous Paris-based co-working hub, LaCantine, is also spreading its wings and setting-up outside of Paris, in addition to a new acceleration program they’ve launched as well. And to top it all off, we’ve now got some of the big-name entrepreneurs talking about potential YCombinator-like programs for local startups. Call me crazy but I truly believe something incredible is going on.

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A Tale of 2+ Cities

It’s been exactly a year since I arrived in Paris to go back to school, 8 months since I started silly ol’ Techbaguette, 7 months since I started writing for TechCrunch Europe, 5 months since I relaunched TechCrunch France and 3 months since we launched Girls in Tech Paris. Man, oh man, time has sure gone by fast.
It was the best of times, it was (never) the worst of times.

It was the best of times. It was (never) the worst of times.

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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?

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Was Loic Le Meur’s Seesmic the precursor to Chatroulette?

Disclaimer: this quick post was oddly inspired by a company that pitched yesterday at Startup Weekend Paris called Waazz. Essentially, the Chatroulette-like webcam-based platform wants to be a hub for insult competitions.  That’s right, angry internet users will come to the site to creatively unleash profanities at each other, record the videos and then ask the community to vote for the winner. Classy.

But for some reason it reminded me more of Seesmic than Chatroulette.

No, not the current Seesmic (Twitter client) but the original Twitter that I saw Loic Le Meur and his team pitch a year or two  ago in San Francisco – which currently goes by the name of “Seesmic Video“. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to check it out yet, it’s essentially recorded Chatroulette; AKA users record conversations and then other users come on the site and record replies and it just takes off from there.

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