The ‘French Tech Ticket’ is a program by the French government to attract ‘gifted and ambitious individuals’ from all over the world. It wants to encourage them to settle in France. The reasons for this are obvious. France is battling to become Europe’s tech superpower. Attracting fresh new talent is a sure-fire way to gain an advantage whilst denying it to other competing nations. It is also helpful for boosting France’s income, as well as its influence on the world stage.
The scheme began on June 21st 2015, and attracted 722 applications – to keep only 23. These consisted of 49 entrepreneurs who joined the program as (usually) a duo, with the occasional start-up trio. This time there will be 180 entrepreneurs across 70 international start-ups.
To initial application requirements were as follows:
- Be an early stage start-up or have a start-up idea/plan
- Plan to develop your business in France
- Be a team of 2 or 3 co-founders
- Be an English speaker
- Not be a French citizen (although at most one French citizen is ok)
- Working full time on the project
- Be ready to relocate to France by January 2017
And that’s it! An independent panel sifted through all applications and the few who succeed were assigned to an incubator. Benefits include:
- €45,000 funding per project in order to cover both external and personal costs
- A 12-month incubation period (ending soon) at one of France’s leading incubators – both within the capital and in the wider regions of France
- Fast-tracked residential permits (the French Tech Visa), which cut through much of the waiting and red tape
- Free master classes, networking events, tailored business support. Follow-up by an individual sponsor, annual Demo days with investors and business leaders. A help desk for administrative formalities, and a soft landing pack to ease the burden of relocating to France. And a practical guide to starting out in the host city.
The benefits are not only those provided by the program, but also from France’s tech scene itself. France has the second largest venture capital ecosystem in Europe. The total venture capital investment reaching $2 billion for the first time in 2015.
France is also well-known for its history of creativity and innovation, keen to try out and adopt new technologies long before others. This may be the reason they were one of the forerunners and founders of the modern digital age. France has one of the highest percentages of researchers in their population in the world. 9.3 out of every 1,000 people are involved in research, development and innovation.
France has more than 1.3 million engineers, 100,000 researchers and 400,000 Research & Development personnel. The country ranks in 6th place worldwide for its gross domestic expenditure on R&D, with €47.5 billion in 2013.
There are a few changes in ‘Season 2’ of the French Tech Ticket program as opposed to ‘Season 1’.
‘Season 1’ (S1) welcomed entrepreneurs to incubators and locations within the boundaries of Paris.
‘Season 2’ (S2) will welcome entrepreneurs and entrants to several tech metropolises within wider France.
These will be organised by thematic and business areas, and there are now 41 incubators throughout mainland France which will host 70 of the winning projects in 2017.
Though S1 attracted 722 applications, S2 attracted 2700 applications from over 100 countries. The female/male ratio is 25/75 and the average age is 30 years old. The successful start-ups for S2 are:
These 70 alphabetically listed start-ups made it through out of the thousands that applied. It will be very exciting to see what they manage to achieve, and we are very excited to see what they manage to do next. Keep an eye out for them!