Now is the best time to launch a tech startup

Fiascos always present new opportunities for entrepreneurs. The dotcom bubble — which happened exactly 20 years ago — killed off companies like Pets.com but strengthened the likes of Amazon and eBay. Airbnb, Spotify, Uber, Dropbox, Adyen, Evernote and more all grew out of the economic downturn of 2008 (as many a venture capitalist likes to mention). 

Even smaller-scale crises have been catalysts for startups. In France, the Icelandic volcano eruption of 2010 and the more recent metro strikes fuelled the rise of alternate means of transportation, like carpooling platform BlaBlaCar and electric scooters. 

This is an opportunity — it’s time for the tech sector to seize it. 

Read More Now is the best time to launch a tech startup

Are European Startups Avoiding the Topic of Downsizing?

We’ve already read about tons of startup layoffs. 1000 people at Yelp and another 1000 at Magic Leap, almost 1000 at Lyft, 45% of the workforce at Eventbrite, 30% at Bird. Layoffs Tracker has over 300 companies listed – including the likes of Houzz, Lending Club, MindBody, The Wing and more. Yet a majority of the companies mentioned are in the US, which is perhaps not surprising given that government support for furlough is not what it is in Europe.

In Europe, the perhaps most prominent startups to announce layoffs have been UK-based so far: Deliveroo, who cut staff by 15% this morning, or Monzo, who announced the closing of it’s 165-person office in Las Vegas, etc. That said, there are prominent startups in France (I’ll avoid mentioning names) that have had to downsize and yet there is absolutely no mention of it in the press. A few people mentioned a similar situation in other European countries (Germany and the Nordics, for example). So my question is: why?

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French tech: startup rankings, mega funding and early acquisitions

After several years (!) of near silence, I decided earlier this year that I would write a bit more often in 2020. However, I wasn’t quite sure what to write about for this post. Since the beginning of the year, quite a bit has happened, including:

the announcement of the French Tech 120 list
several gender diversity-related announcements (like the parental act)
3 French companies that announced mega rounds of funding (Qonto, ManoMano, EcoVadis) and €600-800 million raised in January overall
the launch of Qui veut être mon associé ?, essentially the French version of TV show Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den 

I feel that all of these elements demonstrate very well how the French ecosystem is changing. So I guess I’ll comment on just about all of them.

Read More French tech: startup rankings, mega funding and early acquisitions

Next Stop: La Halle Freyssinet

A few weeks ago, I announced that I was leaving Microsoft and mentioned that in the upcoming weeks I would be announcing my next move. Some people asked me if I was moving back to California (uh, why would I do that?) and some people asked me if I was launching my own startup (maybe one day, *sigh*). And no, I was not leaving Microsoft to join Google. When people would ask me what I was going to do, I would reply…

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Startup Crush: Gemmyo

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Pauline Laigneau, cofounder of French online jewelry startup Gemmyo. I’ll be totally honest; from afar, this startup looks an awful lot like US customized jewelry site Gemvara – but once I got to discover the story behind the French equivalent, I realized it was really something else. And I just had to add it to my Startup Crush list 🙂

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Afterthoughts on Lunch with the French President

As many of you know, I had the incredible honor of being invited to a lunch with the French President earlier this week alongside some of France’s biggest names in tech. That’s right, little American me was invited to discuss the state of the French ecosystem. If you’re thinking “huh?”, don’t worry, I was too 🙂 I was sat around the table with the likes of Jacques-Antoine Granjon (Vente-privée), Marc Simoncini (Meetic), Marie Ekeland (Elaia Partners), Fleur Pellerin (Minister of Digital Economy) and other people I beyond admire. Oh, right, and then there was the French President himself.

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Startup Crush: JellyNote

So some of you may have realized by now that I have a list of my Startup Crushes, featuring the awesome likes of VoiceBunny, Augment, Wunderlist and more.

My latest Startup Crush – who recently won the startup competition at the Blend Conference in Lyon – is JellyNote.

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How European Cities are Building Tech Capitals*

No, I’m NOT writing yet another article on which city of London, Paris or Berlin is going to be Europe’s leading startup city. I think that debate is well overplayed and quite frankly a pointless conversation to have. But – as many of you already know – what has fascinated me over the last few years has been watching how the European ecosystem is developing and how different cities are building tech capitals and in very different ways.

Read More How European Cities are Building Tech Capitals*

Orée: The Wooden Keyboard Made in France

So after a period of quasi-silence, I’m back at the blogging wheel. And what better to kick it off with, than Orée’s wooden keyboard. I first mentioned it on Twitter on Monday and discovered lots of followers not only loved it but also had lots of questions: is it waterproof? Is a French “AZERTY” layout available? How do you clean it? Finally, I decided to get in touch with founder Julien Salanave and get your questions answered.

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