I spent most of last week in Nantes, where Web2Day was hosting its 6th edition – easily the biggest one yet. Organized by Atlantic 2.0, a non-profit association which provides co-working and event space for startups, Web2Day has become my go-to “outside of Paris” French conference: it brings out hundreds of Parisians for 3 days, and, inevitably, becomes a great way to network with people you live in the same city as, but never make time to see.
The conference brought together 1800 or so startupers, of which at least 1500 came from the Nantes ecosystem. Initially, I had assumed that a greater percentage of attendees would come from outside of Nantes; however, the idea that there are 1500 members of the Nantes ecosystem is impressive in its own right. The ecosystem has grown at the same pace as its two flagship startups, Lengow & iAdvize, who both count over 50 employees, and more startups, like Bringr & Clever Cloud, are rising as well.
During the conference, LaFrenchTech commemorated the launch of “NantesTech,” the label for the city’s startup & technology initiatives. Speakers spoke in a mix of English – like Google for Entrepreneurs’ Eze Vidra & Rackspace’s Michael Ferranti (a contributor on Rude Baguette) – and French – Pinterest’s France Country Manager Stephanie Tramicheck, as well as Axelle Lemaire.
As the conference continues to grow, I’d like to see the editorial line of the conference itself improved. I enjoyed the panels that I got to moderate; however, I’m not sure the speakers are pushed to go deep enough into detail. Today, Web2Day, at 100€ for a 3-day ticket, is a great introduction to startups; however, as the bar for the speakers continues to rise, I’d like to see the content do the same. Also, let’s get a full-English edition – c’mon!
During the conference, I got to interview the conference’s organizers – Adrien Poggetti & Magali Oliver – about the conference’s evolution and the ecosystem as a whole. To say that Adrien is “bullish on Nantes” would be an understatement.