4 Great Reasons why New York Tech Startups should be looking east to Paris

Jun 16, 2014
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Later this month, as part of the French Tech Festival, a group of French entrepreneurs (and one rude blogger) will fly out to New York City to show the Big Apple what France has to offer at the La FrenchTouch Conference. It’s no surprise that France would come to New York City – proximity, the proliferation of French entrepreneurs in New York, and a common “international city” branding that only a handful of cities in the world have – however, I thought I would take a look at why NYC should care about Paris:

We’ve Got Engineers, bitches.

The first reason is so obvious that even President Hollande mentioned it in his address to US VCs earlier this week. Paris alone is producing thousands of engineers every year – some go the Silicon Valley, some to London, but the bulk stay right here in France. Our biggest hitters – Criteo, Dailymotion, Blablacar – know that the key to building a solid French startup with an international presence is keeping R&D in France (there are many tax reasons why that’s a good idea), and building out your commercial business in local markets.

You know Advertising, We know AdTech.

It’s no surprise I’m moderating an AdTech panel with Hi-Media and Appnexus at the conference, nor that Criteo CEO JB Rudelle is speaking there. France does AdTech well. It’s the intersection of media and some hardcore mathematics, all of which France has been reputed for for generations. In fact, some of the oldest advertising and media companies, Havas Media & AFP, are French – let’s face it, New York City and Paris are inevitably going to work together on these fronts, so we might as well shake hands every once in a while.

Six Hours from Europe

Sure, New York City startups can open up a London office – but let’s be honest, London is about as much Europe as Tel Aviv is. You may be 2 hours away from Paris, but nothing beats the real thing. Tech startups that are really killing it in Europe are opening up offices in continental Europe – you don’t need to put your EU headquarters in Paris (seriously, I wouldn’t recommend it), but putting feet on the ground is inevitable if you want to conquer the old continent, and Paris is the closest major European city.

We’re made of the same stuff

You’ve got European origins? We’re European! Hell, even the statue of Liberty is just an Eiffel Tower with a dress on. By the way, we’ve got at least three Statues of Liberty in Paris, so you’ll feel right at home.

In all seriousness, there are a lot of cultural similarities between New Yorkers and Parisians – we shove tourists on the metro, we’ve got sexy old buildings with no air conditioning, and we’re both former Empires.

For New York Entrepreneurs, Paris is an inevitable market. If you’re going to build an international company, you’ll launch in France. So why not come out to La French Touch Conference on June 26th-27th in New York City and start building your network today!