French tech startup initiatives come to Silicon Valley

Cisco CEO John Chambers signed a partnership Feb. 16 of this year to invest another €100 million in French Technology (French Techs).

“I feel like I’m watching the Silicon Valley,” Chambers asserted the same day. Eight months later, it was Microsoft’s turn. The $100 billion turnover company decided, through its program “Microsoft for the French Tech startups,” to invest €83 million in French startups.

Launched by the French government on Nov. 27 in 2013, this label targets French regions that decided to help in the development of startups. Now it is associated with French startups with a high growth rate and the highest potential for international expansion.

Using a single label for a group of young and promising enterprise has allowed the French government to promote them better to the non-European economies. From Las Vegas, at the Consumer Electronic Evens (CES), being the biggest European delegation, last January, to China, following French First Minister Manuel Valls for his business trip in January 2015, French Techs are starting their expansion and presenting to the world what they have been building in France for the last few years. Between the biggest crisis of our time and a huge rise in the unemployment rate (a 7 percent unemployment rate in 2008, versus 10.3 percent nowadays,) French Techs is the answer for our young entrepreneur in the midst of the global economic crisis.

Number of new startups per year in France from 2000 to 2014. Image credit:

Number of new startups per year in France from 2000 to 2014. Image credit:

Silicon Valley in the U.S. is best known as the nest for outstanding startups, but everyone shouldn't forget that the English world entrepreneur comes from a French word! So you might be asking yourself: what are those “amazing startups” we are talking about?

They are Criteo (French specialist in online advertisement value over $1.5 billion), Blablacar (one of the world's biggest ride-sharing services), Deezer (the $35 million tracks web streaming music website), Neolan (the French company renamed Adobe campaign, helping marketers in reaching their marketing goals across various media; bought for $600 million by Adobe Systems), Sunrise (provider of a next-generation calendar app for iOS and Android), and the list goes on.

How is it possible it suddenly works that well? This is due to greater access to financing resources for entrepreneurs through plans like the Prêt pour l’innovation (PPI) (loan for innovation). The project was created to connect start-ups with venture capitalists, with the purpose of investing €8 billion by 2017.

As highlighted by Laurent Halfon, working for Deloitte (one of the four biggest audit cabinets in the world), France has the ability to build talented engineers, with specific expertise in building strong business models that grow.

While there is no doubt Silicon Valley will still be the main builder and launcher of outstanding businesses for the next decade, it would be foolish to underestimate the power of French Techs which has already showed incredible results, such as an increase of 18 percent in foreign investment in France in 2014.