10 Reasons to be proud to be working in Tech in France

Jul 1, 2013
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Last week, Adobe bought Neolane, a marketing technology company, for $600M in order to beef up its Adobe Marketing Cloud offer. Sorry, let me repeat that. Six hundred million dollars, for a company that is twelve years old. Sure, maybe you hadn’t heard that much about Neolane before the day they got bought, and maybe Adobe isn’t the coolest company in the world, but this is a technology company getting bought, for a lot of money.

It seems that French entrepreneurs spend more time complaining about the mishaps and misfortunes than boasting about their successes, so I propose that we take a minute to look at ten tech feats that French entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the government can be proud of. Feel free to tweet any one of them

1) Adobe bought a French Marketing Technology company for $600M – biggest European acquisition of the year?

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Seriously – this IS a big deal. If people spent as much time talking about this and the many other amazing exits French companies have had this year as they have talked about famous flops like the Yahoo-Dailymotion affair, we’d change how people think about France.

2) Sparrow got bought by Google over a year ago, and people are still trying to find a replacement iPhone mail app.

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Gmail for iOS still takes forever to load if you have a bad internet connection, Mailbox was bought before they even got their compose window correct, and the only complaint people have about Sparrow is “it won’t get any new updates.” This is true, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the best choise out there.

3) France has its own dedicated lobbying group for Startups & VCs, and they are actually influencing decisions.

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Having a heavy-handed government might seem daunting, but not when you have a lobbying association that has actually made an impact on the government’s policy towards venture capital and innovative SMEs. One year-old as of tomorrow, France Digitale is making strides by presenting facts to the government. Facts they can’t ignore.

4) EVERY Silicon Valley tech company has at least one French Developer – Can you say that about London or Berlin?

Pixar hires designers directly out of University, the San Francisco & Paris mayors hang out, and there’s nothing Californians want more than to drink wine, eat great cheese, and go shopping – we’re basically the same people!

5) France arguably is at its worst economic state since WWII, and we still have more investments that Germany. BooYa.

Numbers don’t lie, bitches. French startups received more investment than German startups in 2012. All that despite the government – imagine what will happen when this country inevitably turns pro small-business.

6) Some countries have world-renowned engineering schools – France has 10, and they are all in Paris. #PlentyofDevs

Epitech, Epita, ESCP, Polytechnique, SciencesPo, Mines, Arts et Metiers, SudParis, HEC – I can name 7 off the top of my head from which I’ve seen great entrepreneur emerge. They’re all withinin spitting distance of Paris.

7) Chrome for iOS’s development is done in Google’s Paris office, with Sparrow founder Dominique Leca on the team.

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Google Dublin’s just a sales hub, and Google London’s a coworking space. In Paris, we’re building shit.

8) French startups have trouble marketing products they’ve built. Most startups have trouble building real products.

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It’s a shame when a great technology is lost because the founders can’t find a way to commercialize it – it’s even worse when you try a product that seems perfect, and turns out to be nothing more than shining lights and buzzers.

I’d rather have to teach French engineers to hire American marketing guys than have to teach marketers to build stuff.

9) France is the number one tourist destination in the world – makes it pretty easy to attract great talent!

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Don’t forget – humans like coming here. When the name of the game is attracting foreign talent to come work for you, having a city that is known for being awesome to visit isn’t the worst thing in the world.

10) French startupers get to build awesome companies while living in the best country on earth!

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Say what you want about government and taxes, you have to love where you work in order to build great things. Fresh bread, great wine, the best cheese, and beautiful women. There’s a reason successful entrepreneurs STAY in France: there’s no better country on the planet to live.

So take a minute to remember, while you’re reading about economic crisis and bad government decisions, that despite all that, France is still a fantastic place to live, and a fantastic place to start a company. Have a little #FrenchTechPride!