2015 is shaping up to be a big ‘international’ year for the French tech ecosystem. Starting with France’s impressive and widely heralded presence at CES and SXSW as well as La French Tech’s planned French Tech Hubs around the world, France is solidifying its reputation as a key and increasingly visible player on the global tech scene. Although much of the focus up until now has been on the US, there is an growing recognition that Asia will play an integral role in paving the path to success for many startups. As such, Bpifrance and Business France are teaming up to launch Acceleratech China, a program aimed at helping French startups better prepare their entry into Chinese market.
The program itself will run over the course of about 6 weeks and will have two tiers. The first tier will be a 10 day tech tour which will take 12 startups to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. From there, 4 of the 12 startups will be selected for 4 weeks of hands-on acceleration, entirely financed by Bpifrance. The acceleration piece will aim to get participants ‘China ready’ though helping them identify partnership opportunities and access investors who can help ease their entry into the Chinese market. The startups involved in both tiers of the program will be selected by mix of Chinese and French investors, entrepreneurs and others actively involved in the Chinese tech scene.
Here are the dates to remember if you’d like to apply :
- 10 July : Limit for submitting applications. You can apply here
- Early September : Announcement of selected 12 startups for the tech tour as well as the 4 startups selected for the acceleration program
- 16 – 24 November : Tech tour to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong
- 24 November – 18 December : 4 week acceleration program
While it’s undeniable that there are a plethora of accelerators right now (and arguably too many), few really help startups gain traction on an international level. It goes without saying that joining one of top programs such as Techstars and Y-Combinator or a leading vertical program such as Hax, will step up a startup’s international profile almost immediately. However, few accelerator programs can say they do the same. Acceleratech China will definitely not be a traditional accelerator program as we in the tech ecosystem tend to define them. It is encouraging that with Acceleratech, Bpifrance and Business France are trying to go beyond the standard ‘startup tech tour’ only model to deliver a program with more depth (albeit only for 4 startups in the first season). Ultimately though, it will all come down to the quality of the mentors and other on-the-ground contacts involved in the program. An-in-all, it’s a good first step from France towards better supporting its startups as they look to go East.