Ok, so before I get started, this article presupposes that you have the legal right to work in France – either you’ve got an appropriate VISA or you’re a citizen in a country in the European Union (ps: check where your grandparents were born if you don’t have the right to work in France – […]
Let me preface this article with a bit of a disclaimer. A while ago, I published a response to the diversity debate that Michael Arrington kicked off in the Silicon Valley. I mentioned that – contrary to what one would think – France’s tech startup scene was incredibly diverse, including entrepreneurs of Moroccan, Tunisian, Israeli, […]
A while ago, I published an article titled “I’m sorry, did you think French companies don’t acquire?” Despite the fact that France lacks a company with an aggressive acquisition strategy comparable to that of Google, there ARE companies that acquire. At the time, my list was oriented towards larger companies – like Ubisoft, France Telecom […]
Even though you may not realize it, fashion is kind of a big deal in the startup world. I’m not talking about haute couture à la Dior and Chanel – but the stuff Mark Zuckerberg wears. Or Steve Jobs. Yes, I’m talking about the laid-back Google dress-code. The simplicity, practicality and functionality of good old jeans and a t-shirt.
First off, for anyone who doesn’t know Smartdate, it’s often defined as the French Zoosk. It’s a Facebook-based dating platform that helps you date people within your online network. The company officially launched in March 2010 raised some €5.5 million with 360 Capital and 2 well-known French entrepreneurs (in the country where it is supposedly impossible to raise money), launched its platform in 6 different languages and accumulated 650K members within a year.
I love when entrepreneur tell me that “it is impossible to raise VC funding in France.” Honestly, it has become one of my favorite phrases. I have come across numerous entrepreneurs – on both sides of the Atlantic – that have told me that VCs are risk-averse weirdos and that their capital is extremely limited and/or drying up. And while Chausson Finance did declare France’s VC activity for the first half of 2011 as remarkably less than in 2010, this does not mean that there is no money to be had.
Twitter has been slowly gaining more and more momentum in France. As with other countries around the world, France definitely started to tune into the power of Twitter – especially with the political uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. And to show just how tuned-in France was to the power of the social web, Sarkozy even held the first-ever eG8 Forum in Paris May to address the role of the Internet in society with numerous digital experts from around the world.
It’s true. French companies don’t have the same acquisition culture as some of the American tech darlings, like Google or Facebook. And it definitely doesn’t help the local exit market. French and other European companies often look across the Atlantic when it comes time to go public or get acquired.But just because there are more exit opportunities elsewhere doesn’t mean there are none at home.
This week’s French product recommendation goes out to Sparrow, a fabulous mail client for Mac developed in France.
No, not Britney. But B-r-i-t-t-a-n-y. You know, the region in the north west of France, known as “Bretagne” to the French and “Breizh” to the local population. It’s a French region unlike the others, with its strong Celtic roots and local language that closely resembles Welsh (yes, French is still the official language, calm down). It’s the home of French writer Chateaubriand, crêpes and nationalist writer-historian Ernst Renan (whose famous essay “What is a nation?” not-so-subtly argued that the populations of Alsace-Lorraine that were lost during the Franco Prussian war were more or less still French).