Monday, March 22, 2021

"Why French startups seem to focus on their home market & what’s changing"

 From EU-Startups, March 22:

Just a few years ago, France was probably not the first country to pop up in the minds of most high-tech investors. The French tech scene was viewed, by some, as inward-focusing, building their products and services for the French national market first (and sometimes only!), instead of focusing on creating international startups right from the start. 

However, in a relatively short period of time, things have been changing quickly in the French tech scene. According to the latest stats provided by Business France, there are around 10,000 startups in France. It is the European country with the highest number of high-growth tech startups. The ‘La French Tech’ movement, created in 2013, has boosted this dynamic, by uniting the players in the field of entrepreneurship around the same banner and the same objective: to accelerate the number of startups and to spread French innovation internationally.

Which market to target? 

With 67 million inhabitants, France is already a great market. With unique elements that make it very different from the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ markets (USA, UK…) and other emerging countries, with BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) in the lead, we understand why it can be interesting to concentrate on the consolidation of one’s national market before going on to conquer other countries. But what are the main barriers to international markets? 

With more and more successful French companies whose main product is a service provided online, it seems easy to launch globally from the start. However, this imposes a number of constraints, often underestimated. Among the most important ones is the need to think directly about the diversity of consumer needs in different countries instead of sometimes optimising a product for French consumers alone.

This also goes without saying, but learning English is sometimes an underestimated task. Although we are seeing some changes in French startups, still very few French startups’ press releases, websites, social media etc. are also available in English, meaning that global customers and immediately blocked.

Ambitious public/private partnerships 

Macron’s administration has made tech startups one of the government’s priorities, in order to create jobs and put France on a sustainable path to growth. The ‘La French Tech Mission’ is a government-led team at the intersection of the public sector and the startup ecosystem. Their long-term mission is to bolster France as a country where tech startups can start, scale and succeed, and they do so through a visa scheme for startups, incrwasing access to funding, campaigns, special programmes and support for their 50+ French Tech communities worldwide. 

According to the annual barometer on the state of health of the French startup ecosystem, published by the firm EY, La French Tech raised €5.4 billion in investment this year. That’s 7% better than in 2019, which was a record year. However, this positive figure should not be the only one. If we compare this with the growth of previous years, we notice a significant drop, since in 2019, the amount of funds raised had increased by 39% compared to 2018, and by 41% in 2018. Compared to its European neighbours, France is in second place, just before Germany (€5.2 billion), and very far behind the United Kingdom (€12.7 billion)....


If interested see also:

"Station F: A symbol of France's startup ambitions"

We last visited Station F in March 2018:
The Creator of the iPod and the iPhone Seeks to Dethrone Tech’s Giants 
It’s a crisp January morning in Paris’s 13th Arrondissement, and outside Station F, the former freight terminal that is the epicenter of France’s startup scene, twentysomethings climb out of cars hailed using iPhone apps.... 

Q&A with M. Macron's New Digital Minister, Cédric O, on Tech in France

"Going private: France makes sacrifices for its startup nation"

France: "For Emmanuel Macron, AI is more than a technological revolution. It is a political revolution of hope in an increasingly dystopian future"

Tony Fadell’s Next Act? Taking on Silicon Valley—From Paris

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