At the heart of Paris’ thriving developer scene: Babyfoot.

Dec 8, 2014
Vote on Hacker News

DSC03609

Bearded, ponytailed, and dressed in swag, 100s of developers & startupers gather at the infamous developer school 42 – named after an iconic reference, opened by France’s geek billionaire Xavier Niel, and 100% free for all students. These developers aren’t here for a hackathon, they aren’t here for some new product unveiling, or for a conference: they’re here for Foosball (in French, babyfoot).

Last month the first Gamelle Star Cup was organized by developer recruitment firm Mobiskill, gathering more than 100 startup teams – 500+ attendees, including fans – together in order to prove one thing: who can control miniature soccer player and direct a tiny ping-pong sized ball into a goal smaller than the length of your foot.

Foosball has become, without a doubt, the national sport in the Paris’ startup scene – the event was MC’ed by the world champion foosball player, who is French, and it might as well have been the Summer Olympics for players who made it to the finals. Some teams dawned pom-pom girls/guys, some teams brought their own handles for the table, and everyone had a good time cheering on their friends.

Speaking with Mobiskill about the genesis of the competition, partner Baptiste Vavdin tells me that the event was meant as a way to bring together startups employees to compete in the name of their company, as a team-building experience but also as a way to demonstrate what it’s like to work at these fast-growth (e.g: hiring) companies.

Screenshot 2014-12-03 16.47.02

Many of the tables were sponsored by startups – Criteo, edjing, Clustree, Pret d’union, Deezer, Prestashop, Prisma Media, Teads, FastBooking & LeKiosk – while the winners of the competition, FacileIT, are a development agency working with tech companies. Winners received a corporate video for the company courtesy of Mobiskill.

The ‘startup’ lifestyle is what attracts many to the fast-paced atmosphere of venture-backed tech companies – perks like an in-house foosball table or even an in-house chef make the high-pressure environment feel less so.

The next edition of the competition will take place next year, and interested parties are encouraged to reach out on the official website.