Earlier this week, a tweet from Captain Dash founder and France’s “Digital Champion” for the EU, Gilles Babinet, got a fair amount of attention. This may be perhaps because Babinet’s tweet claimed that he knew of four different French investment funds who will be leaving France directly because of the tax changes. Just days later, the National Assembly (read: House of Reps) approved President Hollande’s controversial Tax changes, which, among other things, will raise the Capital Gains tax for VCs.
While the #geonpi managed to save entrepreneurs, it seems that the VC are being thrown under the bus. While #geonpi spokesperson Jean-David Chamboredon, GM of French VC firm ISAI (Blablacar, Commerce Guys, Shopmium, & more) continues to make TV appearances it seems that the movement has run out of steam, with only days until the French senate will approve the modified tax changes.
Aujourd'hui j'ai eu confirmation du départ de quatre fonds d'investissement significatifs de France en conséquence de la plf #motscroises
— Gilles Babinet (@babgi) October 22, 2012
I contacted Babinet to get specifics on the investment funds, and while he can’t reveal every detal, he did say that Argos Soditic, a European Private Equity firm who, while they have not invested in many notable French web startups, have invested in France since 1989, represent nonetheless a loss for France. Babinet confirmed that “every significant asset holder is fleeing the country,” in response to the rising taxes on Capital Gains, as well as, likely, the 75% on personal income above €1 Million.
With companies like Criteo poised to IPO in the next year, returning investments to French VCs like Elaia Partners, these new tax changes represent a big dip in earnings for people like Marie Ekeland, who was the first VC to back Criteo, now worth an estimated $800M.