'La French Tech' refers to all the people working for or with French startups, in France or abroad.
The French Tech ecosystem is made up of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, designers, developers, associations, bloggers, media, incubators, i.e. everyone involved in helping French startups to grow and raising their international profile.
A booming startup ecosystem
France is today enjoying strong entrepreneurial momentum, driven by a record number of business startups.
For the sixth year in a row, France dominated the rankings of Deloitte’s 2016 Technology Fast 500 EMEA, which identifies the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. France had the most entries in the top 500, with a grand total of 94 companies included in the rankings. France also came in third in the 2016 Clarivate Analytics (ex-Thomson Reuters) Top 100 Global Innovators, with 10 organizations making the list.
Many young French technology companies are now going global.
Seven French companies are listed on the NASDAQ, including biopharmaceutical firm DBV Technologies, valued at more than US$1 billion, and digital performance marketing company Criteo, valued at more than US$2.5 billion.
BlaBlaCar, a ridesharing marketplace, is valued at US$1.6 billion and is now operating in 14 countries.
Sigfox, a Toulouse-based wireless network for the Internet of Things raised more than US$100 million in 2015 and is currently rolling out in 10 US cities.
Showroomprivé, the online private sales platform is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and has operations in eight countries.
Vente-privée made a number of high-valued acquisitions in the last few months, including Vente-Exclusive (Belgium) and Privalia (Spain), and now owns majority stakes in eboutic.ch (Switzerland).
French startups are also attractive for high-profile acquisitions
- TripAdvisor acquired LaFourchette.com - the French equivalent of restaurant reservation service Open Table - for a reported €100 million.
- Neolane, a software platform for managing digital marketing campaigns, was acquired by Adobe for US$600 million (around €460 million).
- Fimalac/Webedia has invested €240 million in digital media sites such as allocine.fr and jeuxvideo.com over the past few years.
- Captain Train – the French online train ticket booking platform – was acquired by Trainline for €200 million in March 2016.
- Withings – the French leader in health-related connected devices – was acquired by Nokia for €170 million in April 2016.
France at the forefront of international innovation ecosystems
The French government’s investment in creating one of the leading innovative nations in the world is paying off.
Over the past few years, various American tech giants - including Google, Intel, Cisco, and Facebook - among others, have chosen France to develop their cutting-edge technologies:
- Intel, which already has seven R&D hot spots in France recently opened its European Big Data R&D center.
- Facebook chose France as the location its first Artificial Intelligence R&D center.
- Cisco also recently opened an innovation & research center in Paris, with the goal of driving IoE innovation and a focus on smart city development
- Google created a cultural institute in Paris called “Le Lab”, which is designed to be a meeting space for cultural technology players from around the world to meet up with Google engineers.
France may be the best known for its mastery of « Old World » pleasures like wine and luxury goods. But it has quickly -and quietly- become a formidable player in the new digital economy, following an explosion of smart technology startups.
An international network of French Tech Hubs to help startups expand worldwide
French Tech Hubs are a global network of French or simply Francophile entrepreneurs and talented people with overseas startups who have set up local French Tech communities. These French Tech ambassadors open up their networks and share their experience with French startups seeking to develop their business in their country. Eleven communities have been awarded the French Tech accreditation to date. A total of 20 communities are expected to be set up over the coming months.
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