French president Emmanuel Macron recently invited 40 venture capitalists from the world of tech to find out why France is competing with the US tech giant Silicon Valley to become a hot-spot location for tech startups.
The VCs and partners attended the two-day event at Station F – the world’s biggest startup incubator – as well as at the president’s official residence the Elysée Palace.
The VCs were there to find out how the French system for startups had changed over the years, especially since the election of Macron who is trying to make changes to the French system, despite the protests against him by the "gilets jaunes" - a political movement for economic justice that have been making their presence felt in the form of protests and demonstrations, dressed in their titular yellow vests.
But if Macron manages to make some of his reforms, then France has a chance of squaring up to the tech giants in the US. As the tech industry in America becomes ever bigger, there is more pressure on smaller tech companies to find talent from further afield in order to compete with the big tech giants. That’s where France hopes to fill that gap.
The stuffy bureaucratic reputation France once had has slowly been replaced with a more entrepreneurial-friendly atmosphere (check out our story about how France tech hub Station F has helped to shrug off France's bad business reputation) and any worried investors may have had were soon put to rest by the Chairman of Business France and Ambassador for International Investments Pascal Cagni and former Cisco CEO John Chambers who is now ambassador for La French Tech.
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In the last few years France’s company formation system has taken an overhaul so that startups can get their companies up and running in a few weeks. And labour laws have been relaxed so employers aren’t restricted by such harsh regulations that in former years had bosses tied up in red tape every time they needed to let people go.
With the European tech startup scene growing, and funding rounds frequently peaking over the $20 million mark, it seems that France and the UK are going head to head over the number of VC deals clinched.
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But France is edging ahead thanks to being home to some of the best engineering schools in the world and the most innovative young tech talent plus the launch of La French Tech – a government funded organisation that helps promote the French tech scene and organises visas for foreign talent through the French Tech visa scheme.
The launch of the massive tech hub Station F which covers 34,000 m2 in the 13th district of Paris, providing office accommodation for up to 1,000 start-ups and support from big hitters such as Facebook and Microsoft, has cemented France’s reputation for being a forward-thinking culture which is ready to leave its old traditional frumpy ways at the gate.
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So if you’re interested in giving your tech startup a healthy chance of surviving with fresh talent and fantastic facilities, France might just be the place to be. For more information on setting up a business in France, or issues to do with accountancy or visas, you can download our free guide below or give our team a call 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 email us through our contact page.