Digital and Innovation Minister comes to London

The French Tech community: developing French entrepreneurship from London

The French Tech community in London is back to work after the summer break. On Thursday, 200 entrepreneurs and investors will gather on the invitation of the French Tech Hub London. The aim of the Hub is to coordinate, develop and boost the influence of the French start-up ecosystem in London (entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists). The event will provide an opportunity to review the latest developments in the Hub and reveal the many partnerships forged in recent months.

The presence of French businesses abroad plays a major role in exporting French-style excellence and allows France carry to more weight internationally. To this end, a city with London’s aura and attractiveness is a priority when it comes to developing start-ups: as the modern, cosmopolitan city par excellence, the British capital was the ideal place to promote French initiatives.

This is why, in November 2013, the French government implemented a package of measures to promote the growth of French start-ups, championed by a young generation of dynamic, innovative entrepreneurs. The idea was then born of a vast network of UK-based French investors and entrepreneurs, “ambassadors” from which would mentor the most promising young businesses.

Since its official launch on 14 April 2016 in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, Axelle Lemaire and their British colleague Ed Vaizey, FrenchTech London has stood out by its dynamism.

“Not a week goes by without a new event or initiative emerging,” says Albin Serviant, the French entrepreneur who acts as the Hub’s coordinator.

The network, comprising three private partners (Frog Valley, FrenchConnect London and French Digital) and three institutional players (Business France, the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain and the French Embassy in London), supports young businesses, facilitating their networking efforts and putting them in touch with mentors already based in Britain. The system was devised to provide a simplified entry point for French start-ups and coordinate the many initiatives that already exist (events organized by expatriates’ clubs and networks, offers of services to start-ups, networking etc.).

With more than 130 start-ups, 18 investors and 34 entrepreneurs, who play a mentoring role, having already joined French Tech London, it has established itself as the leading international hub in terms of how many associated structures there are. This post-summer break evening will allow us to present the agenda for the coming months and the concrete action to support start-ups, such as, for example, the monthly mentoring sessions supported by a well-known investment fund.

Thanks to good media coverage in particular – for example not just in Challenges, the major French dailies and The Sunday Times in the UK but also in specialist publications and on social networks –, French Tech London has become the leading hub in terms of listed start-ups, prominent investors and ambassador members. Bold, innovative companies such as Made.com (furniture and design), Peak (sportswear) and Kantox (currency and risk management; it is also a member of the France Fintech network in the finance industry) have got involved in the project. Through their role as investors, they help the network run smoothly.

Ultimately, the success of the London Hub model justifies the French Tech network’s continued international expansion. Indeed, French Tech’s aim is to forge links between France and the world’s biggest cities by giving assistance to start-ups, promoting French businesses to local players and establishing a close-knit community of French players abroad.

Published on 19/09/2016

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