Is France the new European capital of startups?

Date: 12/01

Por: Marco De Biasi

"We have to regain our spirit of conquest. The word entrepreneur, not forget it - said recently the French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron - is a French word. There has been stolen. "The presence of Macron at CES in Las Vegas is an important sign of how the government is trying to follow words with deeds.

Seem far from the time of the revolt of the "pigeonnés", the pigeons, as called themselves just two years ago the French entrepreneurs who were protesting against a budget law accused of making life difficult for startups. O block of the acquisition by Yahoo, the video portal Dailymotion, wanted the predecessor of Macron, Arnaud Montebourg, who believed the acquisition "contrary to the national interest."

Today the field of startups, and digital in general, beyond the Alps is booming, so much so that in Las Vegas, 22% of the startups present spoke the language of Baudelaire, making the French delegation, the largest among the European ones, and the second absolute after the United States. From watches intelligent Withings connected to the bike of Connected Cycle, drone Parrot headphones music relaxants MyBrain, are several areas in which technology has made Gallic proudly displayed. The center of this explosion of creativity is of course Paris.

In the capital, according to data of the agency Ubifrance, which promotes the French brand abroad, are active more than 4,000 startups and to open a company are only four days and a half, against the two weeks required six days in Germany and the United Kingdom. Not lack of investment capital, even in the early stages of launching a company and there have been some interesting exit, like that of Neolane, which was sold to Adobe for Euro 600 million 

The French government is promoting everything that has to do with technology startups and entrepreneurs under the common brand "The French Tech", and has plans in the near future to launch a program to attract talent from abroad through the provision of special four-year visas for entrepreneurs and highly skilled professionals. Something similar to the Startup Visa launched about a year, by our Ministry of Economic Development. All without selling off the rights of workers and not condemn them to eternal insecurity, although in the last three years, unemployment is growing (now 10.5%) and 25% of young people is unemployed (compared to 43.9 % in Italy).

Despite dramatic improvements, the French system is however still often perceived abroad as a bit 'in plaster and not easy for investors. An impression that visits like that of Macron, and exhibits in Las Vegas can help to overcome. The margins of improvement have emerged: in 2013 the digital sector in France represented 5.5% of GDP, much better than Italian, stuck at 3.1%, but very far from the 10% in the UK