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La French Tech Takes Centre Stage at Web Summit 17

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by Startacus Admin

la french tech
The growing reputation of the French tech scene is clearly under the spotlight at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, with more than 140 French startups exhibiting and 52 top-calibre French speakers on the conference stage during the event.

Keen to find out more about the French tech scene, and what you might expect to see at La French Tech Web Summit booth, Startacus took some timefrench tech at web summit 2017 to do just that and to find out how this growing startup ecosystem has been finely (but perhaps quietly) going about its business of positioning itself as a global startup player. Vive la France! 

A recent report by data provider Dealroom indicated that the UK was outpaced by France in VC funding during the first half of 2017. A shocking stat to perhaps many in the UK, French VC firms raised €1.7 billion during the first six months of 2017, compared to a reported €1.6 billion for their UK based counterpart VCs. 

These stats might, perhaps, come as a surprise to those from outside of France, but on closer inspection it’s fair to say that the French have been gradually building an infrastructure that would merit such growth. 

The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016 programme for example ranked France in first place for the country with the greatest number of fastest-growing tech companies in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) during the past four years. The UK still sat at a healthy second place with 70 ranked companies, but it was French tech that came out on top with a rather impressive 94 ranked tech businesses making the list.

Comparing this to perhaps other more well-known startup ecosystems such as Israel (27) and Germany (23) it’s plain to see this is no flash-in-the-pan success story, but gradual and well supported progression. 

La French TechHome to an abundance of vibrant tech hubs, and a hotbed of talent, this French movement has been centralised by the emergence of La French Tech, an initiative and project, now 4 years in the making, committed to the growth of startups and France’s international influence. 

At the top of this ecosystem sit international champions such as BlaBlaCar, valued at $1.2 billion, and growing tech companies such as Sigfox and Devialet, who respectively raised $150 million and $100 million in 2016. But it is the strength in depth and the building of a business infrastructure that has created a powerful dimension for current and future growth.

Less than six months ago Paris opened its doors to the world’s largest startup campus, Station F. A campus initiated by leading French entrepreneur and businessman Xavier Niel and run by well-known and respected global startup champion Roxanne Varza.

Station FOnly open a few months, the stats are rather impressive. Station F is a whopping 34,000 square meters, has over 3,000 desks in the startup zone and perhaps most importantly, 26 international startup programmes to support a whole host of startups and verticals. From Facebook and Zendesk to Microsoft and Havas Group, corporates have been quick to launch programmes to support a wide range of startups. 

And the French ecosystem is well supported across the whole of the country with around 300 incubators accelerators that support the wide range of startups that are based in France.

France has actively developed a programme that supports the best international startup talent to be based in the country.

A great example of this is French Tech Ticket, an initiative we reported on last year, which was designed for entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to establish their startups in France. 70 selected startups gained a whole host of benefits including a cash prize of €45k per team over the course of this year (with no loss of equity), a tailored programme of events to support the startup’s growth and 12 months’ space in one of the 41 selected partner incubators.

The open nature of welcoming international talent is also evident via the The French Tech Visa initiative - a simplified, fast-track procedure to obtain a residence permit known as the "Talent Passport" for three types of international tech talents, from startup founders to employees to investors. A clever programme that fuels the ingredients of the core elements any growing or established startup ecosystem needs - founders, talent, and capital! 

A brand that is gaining support, visibility, and credibility worldwide, 22 French Tech Hubs have been opened across the world, with the goal of bridging the gap between major innovation hubs and facilitating the international growth of French startups. La French Tech can also be recognized at more than 40 international events and its delegation is typically among the largest international startup contingents at major shows such as CES, Mobile World Congress, CES Asia, and more.

Which leads nicely onto this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon 

Web Summit started as a simple idea in Ireland in 2010: to connect the technology community with all industries, both old and new. Now in its 8th web summit 2017year and taking place on the 6th-9th of November, the globally known event, coined by many as The Davos of Tech geeks, will once again promise to bring together the biggest movers and shakers of the tech world, as well as Nobel Prize laureates, leading thinkers from the academic world, and NGOs. The event will likely draw over 60,000 attendees. 

Arguably now the largest technology conference in the world, it can be said that there is something rather similar to the global growth of the Web Summit brand and the emergence of La French Tech as a global tech startup player.

At this year’s Web Summit, a number of prominent French unicorn names will feature among the top conference speakers on the stage: Ludovic Le Moan, CEO & co-founder of Sigfox; Quentin Sannié, co-founder & CEO of Devialet; Nicolas Brusson, CEO of BlaBlaCar;

François Chopard, founder of Starbust Aerospace Accelerator; as well as former President of the French Republic, François Hollande, to name but a few.

Not only that, France will be at the forefront of this year’s event, with more than 140 French startups exhibiting at La French Tech’s booth in Hall 4.

Having looked over the whole list of exhibiting French startups, it’s clear to Startacus that strength in depth and diversity is on show with French startups representing key verticals such as big data, ecommerce, enterprise, entertainment, environmental & CleanTech, FinTech, hardware & IoT, HR & recruitment, LegalTech & accounting, lifestyle, creation & wellness, MedTech, philanthropy & social good, cyber security, social, software, sports & fitness, and travel. 

There’s of course too many to name them all, but we’ve picked out a few to keep an eye on over the course of Web Summit and going forward into 2018:

Created in 2016, Botfuel are a fast-growing startup based in Paris. Their team focuses on building new AI and NLP technology to fuel companies’ chatbots. In March this year they raised $1.4 million.

Talking bots, we’ve also got a taste for VitiBot, who are innovating by aiming to make vineyard machines autonomous.

HynosAnd if all this talk of wine is too much to handle, we are loving the look of Dreaminzzz - the first connected hypnosis mask on the market. We won’t at this point explain the tech, but we reckon there are many possibilities for developing a hypnosis mask for various business sectors, from health, mindset, wellness and perhaps even giving up smoking. We would love to test it out at the Summit.

Adopted by thousands of teams in 114 countries in one year, Klaxoon offers intuitive and powerful ways to mobilize teams, customers, and networks to work smarter together. Based on your content, you can propose simple, playful, and effective activities: quizzes, surveys, challenges, brainstorming activities, live messaging, and so on. Already recognized with several awards worldwide, including the 2016 & 2017 CES Innovation Award, we’d imagine this startup will only continue to scale.

Pocket ResultCo-constructed with KPI experts, SaaS startup PocketResults is designed for managers within marketing, sales, finance, and HR departments who are overwhelmed by performance management, data, and reports. They have already worked with and created tailor-made applications for brands such as Adidas, Bristol Myers Squibb, Sephora, Sport 2000, Picard Surgelés, Cosmétique Active, L’Oréal, Française des Jeux, Kalikado, Médiaperformances, Moma Event, W40, Vinci Concessions, and Biocodex. 

A simple premise, SpeakShake is an online video-calling platform for learning and practising new languages. The platform lets you speak a foreign SpeakShakelanguage in tandem with others, who in turn are looking to learn your language. A simple but potentially globally scalable business that, as far as we can see, works by buying chat credit.

Laika is a life companion for dogs, based on a smart and autonomous robot that can be controlled from anywhere. Currently crowdfunding.

Specialising in AI applied to big data, Montpellier-based Tellmeplus leverages 5 years of research in the field of artificial intelligence applied to predictive analytics. It sounds great, but we will let you take a look to understand the technicals! 

Talking AI, Ipoome is the first artificial intelligence to automatically fund any business. Nice!

And that is just a few of the 140 startups we could have highlighted.

It hardly needs saying after all of this that the French startups heading to this year’s Web Summit are strong and ready to show themselves to the world. Still, if you are going along, make sure to check out all this talent, and to those exhibiting: bonne chance! 

Sponsored. This article has been written with the support of La French Tech, but remains editorially unbiased.


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Published on: 3rd November 2017

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