November 10, 2016
Since 2009, Web Summit has been one of Europe’s largest events related to technology. This year’s edition is the first happening overseas, in the beautiful city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
Other than the strong presence of Portuguese companies, the 2016 edition of Web Summit also featured significant representation from France, with more than 100 companies present in the event. This is possible due to many support organizations within France, including La French Tech, a project created back in 2013 by both the government and private institutions aiming to bring visibility to the country’s startup ecosystem.
France has, in recent years, experienced the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs, willing to take risks and break barriers in order to give life to their visions and ideas, culminating in the creation of fresh startups. In order to get on board and leverage this movement, the French government embraced it and gave a helping hand with the establishment of several support programs for entrepreneurs and the creation of a unique brand, La French Tech, with the goal of exporting it overseas.
The bet proved to be successful, as there are currently over 20,000 startups registered in Paris alone, even though La French Tech operates all across the country. France’s capital now has more startups than Berlin, one of Europe’s most important financial centers, and is barely behind London, which is viewed as the startup hub of Europe.
France’s startup scene is visibly growing and expanding, mostly in the big data, IoT, biotech, medtech, and sharing economy fields, as David Monteau, director of La French Tech, states:
“We are seeing incredible success in the startup scene in France. While innovation has been exhibited in our culture for centuries, we are hoping to share this message beyond our community and prepare our entrepreneurs and engineers to aid in the global landscape.”
Last year, France dominated the rankings of Deloitte’s 2015 Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Also, recent years showed several unicorns (companies valued at over $1 billion) in the country, like BlaBlaCar, Vente-Privée and OVH. NASDAQ features 7 French companies, including DBV Technologies, valued at more than $1 billion, and Criteo, valued at more than $2.5 billion.
Another piece of evidence proving La French Tech’s success is that France is ranked first in Europe this year, for the number of investment deals made, and has the second largest venture capital ecosystem in Europe, which was worth €94 billion in 2013.
Also important to these results was the loosening of legislation on crowdfunding two years ago, allowing for more projects and startups to be funded easily. Crowdfunding is big in the country. When Kickstarter arrived in France last year, there were already 70 active crowdfunding platforms.
All this makes the French startup ecosystem a boiling one, clearly with support and investment available for ideas and companies deserving it. And, for sure, La French Tech has a big part in this.
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