Known as the “City of Lights” and not quite as a startup hub yet, Paris is beginning to change its reputation for the better. The government has been at the forefront of supporting the ecosystem, especially at the seed level investment stage, which it does through the public bank Bpifrance, along with offering a combination of tax benefits, subsidies, and loans to the tech community. Moreover, French engineers are among the most talented in the world and the cost of hiring an engineer is very minimal due to the monetary support from the government. Much of France’s tax regimen, while burdensome for startups that exit, is not as draconian as many investors think it is. In the past few years, Paris has seen no shortage of accelerators, such as Le Camping and TheFamily opening their doors to the community. The challenge with French startups is that it is difficult for them to go global because founders have a greater interest to focus domestically. Despite the fact that Paris is a multicultural city, when compared to other startup markets such as London or Berlin, few startups are founded by European expats, widely regarded a necessary ingredient in a successful ecosystem due to their global orientation and greater risk appetite.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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Jacques-Antoine has long been a staple in the Parisian startup community. Having had previous success with eCommerce, Jacques-Antoine founded vente-privee.com in 2001 as a way for consumers to purchase designer brands. His net worth is estimated to be around $1.07B.
The Le Meurs are the organizers of LeWeb, an annual event that brings together over 3,000 participants and 200 startups from 80 countries to explore trends in the IT and startup world.
Before her current position as founder of the startup lobby, France Digital, Marie a partner at the venture firm Elaia where she successfully led the Criteo deal. She is currently a member of the board of directors for Criteo and Parrot.
Alice is the co-founder and CEO of TheFamily, an accelerator she founded with Oussama Ammar and Nicolas Colin. TheFamily offers startups scaling education, tools, and access to capital in order to create billion dollar startups. Before TheFamily, Alice had launched Le Camping, which was an accelerator that deployed public funds.
Liam is both the co-founder and editor of Rude Baguette, France's English-language tech startup blog. Concurrently, Liam is also a Startup Weekend facilitator, a job that has him traveling across Europe to help with the execution of Startup Weekends.
Cedric is the Head of Startup Relations at the IoT startup SigFox where he helps startups launch new products and services while utilizing the SigFox network. His prolific blogging led to him being France's Techcrunch co-Editor and he has also served as an organizer for Le Web. He is also a mentor at Le Camping.
As France's Minister for Digital Affairs, Axelle has pursued a variety of policy options to make France more startup friendly. Chief among these is the expansion of an investor and entrepreneur-friendly visa to allow engineers to take advantage of the benefits of working visa free. She has also committed to improving France’s educational system when it comes to computer science.
Frédéric is the Co-Founder and CEO at BlaBlaCar, France's next major "unicorn" and a leading European ridesharing startup that connects drivers with empty seats and people traveling the same way, so they can share their cost.
Roxanne is the Director of Station F, the largest startup campus worldwide. Previously, she worked with Microsoft, running both their Bizspark and Microsoft Ventures programs for France. She is also the co-founder of both Tech.eu and the French chapter of Girls in Tech. Along with being a co-organizer of the Failcon Paris conference, Roxanne serves as a valuable resource for many startups in Paris and is one of the country's pre-eminent startup community leaders.
Partech is the oldest VC in Paris, and has been very active in investing in startups in Paris, Berlin, and San Francisco. The firm boasts well over 100 portfolio exits, and in 2015 announced $65 million seed fund, which is the biggest European seed fund focused on digital startups.1982
Xavier Niel founds Illiad and it goes on to become one of France's leading mobile operators. Xavier has since become an evangelist for the Paris ecosystem.1990
Founded by entrepreneurs Loïc and Geraldine Le Meur, LeWeb is an internationally-renowned conference for digital innovation where visionaries, startups, tech companies, brands and leading media converge to explore today’s hottest trends and define the future of internet-driven business.2004
Widely regarded as one of France's most successful startups, Dailymotion has grown to be one of the biggest video platforms in the world. In 2011, Orange acquired a 49% stake in the company for €62 million.2005
Co-founded by billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel, Kima Ventures' goal is to support and finance innovative companies with seed capital all over the world.2010
Le Camping has a 6-month program with an acceleration phase followed by a special growth phase. It has 60 mentors that come together to support, advise, critique and position startups. A few years after Le Camping, TheFamily follows -- launching an accelerator for early-stage startups that helps support them by offering education to help them overcome unfair advantages. It is focused on the long term growth of the startups that come through their classes.2010-2013
Founded in 2005, Criteo IPOs on the NASDAQ for $250 million and becomes an instant success story for French startups.2013
The French government announces a new "startup visa" that is geared towards global entrepreneurs who want to create businesses in France. Startups are also exempt from income tax for the first eight years of their existence.2014
The mobile giant Orange launches Orange Digital Ventures, a $23 million fund for early stage investments. Previously ,the company had created a $400 million fund in partnership with advertising giant Publicis and Iris Capital.2015
Financed by French entrepreneurial legend Xavier Niel, Station F acts as a locus for startups across Paris and greater France. And its massive. With thousands of desks, it's the size of the Eiffel Tower laying down. Station F is further fuel for Paris's burgeoning startup economy.July 2017