Rhou! The #geonpi movement closes officially


With the PLF2013 approved in the National Assembly, and with the Senate set to vote on it the week of November 22nd, the #geonpi Facebook page announced today that it would close its Facebook page. Thanking the 70K+ fans of the page for their support in the 30 days since the page’s creation, the page noted that, while there is still time for people to voice their opinion against the PLF2013 (and, namely, the capital gains tax changes for investors), the #geonpi page has served its purpose, and its ongoing existence is no longer needed, nor helpful.
As the movement grew this past month, #geonpi quickly got distorted in the media and in the political circles from an entrepreneur/investor-led movement against the capitals gains laws, to a code for any sentiment anti-Hollande or pro-Sarkozy, which, as the page noted, caused politicians to listen less to the voice of the #geonpi.

What did #geonpi accomplish?

Looking back on the last month, I see two interesting takeaways from the Pigeons movement:

  1. Entrepreneur Capital Gains Tax Saved: This is the obvious concrete one. In addition to getting the terms improved for the equity life-cycle (down from 12 years to 6 years), entrepreneurs have also been spared the capital gains tax, along with any other “createurs.” The movement also got rid of the retroactive time-stamp of 2013 after which entrepreneurs would have their capital gains tax based off of – that is, if you started your company in 1992, and then sold your company in 2015, they could tax you based off of the 2 year difference from 2013, a difference of 15% as compared to if they taxed you based off of the actual creation of the company, according to the new capital gains tax regime.
  2. Probably the best PR France could ask for: Plenty of people will say that international news covering the French government’s intention to change tax laws to make innovation harder is bad – but I know the golden rule for startups: all press is good press. The fact of the matter is that tech blogs & major publications spent the past 4 weeks talking about how StartupsEntrepreneurs, and Investors were fighting against the French government to keep their innovation ecosystem as it is now – most people outside of France have trouble just naming a French tech company. I hope that this movement, along with quote from the Paris mayor saying “Paris has more startups than London & Berlin” have woken Europe & the world up to the fact that, in fact, Europe’s #2 country in terms of Investment has been and will continue to produce great companies.

The Pigeons closing statement also gave credit to the founding members of the Pigeon movement:

“Carlos [Diaz, founder of Bluekiwi and Kwarter], Fabien then Pascal were the first Facebook admins for the Pigeons Facebook page, then Jean-David became the spokesman a week later. From the beginning, several young entrepreneurs became active moderators and contributors to the community: Jeremy, Ruben, Tatiana, Hélène, Stéphane, Alex, Anthony, Guillaume, Thibaut (logo designer), Yaël, Mikael, Cyril, Nicolas, Simon, Héloïse, Manuel, Thomas, Pierre… Most of them are under 30.”

One thing is for sure: it doesn’t take pigeons to tell you that there is a great future ahead of us for France – new funds, new startups & new technology.