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French Minister Speaks at Tech Show in Las Vegas

French Minister Speaks at Tech Show in Las Vegas

Published on January 13, 2014
Speech by Fleur Pellerin, Digital Economy Minister

Dear Friends and Guests, Dear Pierre Gattaz,

I’m thrilled to host this party tonight, and thank you all for having accepted our invitation to meet with la French Tech. I will be brief but I have a few things to share with you before we start enjoying our evening.

First I would like to warmly thank those who set up this party and whose day-to-day mission is to promote the French Tech ecosystem:

- Ubifrance and the team led by Christophe Lecourtier, that set up a terrific space at the Eureka Park showcasing the best French startups,
- Invest in France Agency and the team led by president David Appia,
- The MEDEF and its president Pierre Gattaz who will say a few words right after me,
- And Orange that also sponsored the evening.

Let me also say that I am especially honoured to have so many of our friends from abroad. The digital field knows no geographical boundaries, and the attendees here tonight illustrate this point quite eloquently.

I have one and only one thing to tell you tonight: my personal ambition is to prove that France is Europe’s start-up nation!

I am personally convinced being a start-up nation is a large part of the solution to achieve social progress and sustainable development, to create the jobs for today and tomorrow!

It is a global project and it is a drastic change in our way of thinking and of acting !

We need to democratize access to knowledge, to thinking, to making and to doing. We need to innovate constantly to move forward.

And to do so, we need new projects coming from out of nowhere to shake the established way of doing things.

I know that we, in this room tonight, are all convinced of this.

And my day-to-day job is to fight so everything can be done to assist both the creation of start-ups and their growth up to global tech champions.

France has a terrific tech ecosystem. I should say ecosystems, because if you travel in France, and many global VCs coming from abroad do, you can meet with talented startups not only in Paris but also in Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, Montpellier, Nantes, Bordeaux, you name it…

Actually, in every major city in France, you will find an emerging and quickly growing startup community. It is the new face of the French economy!

And we can prove it! Let me mention a few striking news of La French Tech in 2013:

Jean-Baptiste Rudelle floats Criteo on the Nasdaq, with an initial valuation of US$2 billion.

Ludovic Le Moan raises US$10 million with Intel Capital for Sigfox to build the first cellular network operator dedicated to M2M.

Eric Careel raises US$30 million to accelerate Withings and its connected devices and win multiple innovation awards at CES! Congratulations Eric who is here tonight! You are also the leader of our initiative for fostering the industry of connected devices: in France, the industrial policy is now made with startup CEOs !

Axel Dauchez raises US$137 million to expand Deezer globally. Congratulations Axel!

Xavier Niel buys the Halle Freyssinet to build the world’s largest incubator/accelerator in Paris with five hundred thousand square feet of coworking and office space for startups. Tomorrow, more than 1000 startups will he hosted in this terrific place!

France is the leading country in the “Technology Fast 500 EMEA” with 86 French tech companies featured!
Congratulations La French Tech!

Yes, the French Government strongly supports La French Tech and has undertaken several key reforms to foster start-ups growth.

I won’t bother you with a detailed list of policy measures. But let me just mention for our guests the main goals we are aiming at:

First we want talents to come from everywhere to develop their start-up project in France.
Our to-do list of private and public initiatives includes a startup visa, international tech challenges for startups, startup accelerators.

Second, we want start-ups to have easy access to financing.
We have undertaken many actions to foster the venture capital industry, that we have identified to be a strategical component of our economy! Crowdfunding must also become huge in France. And all potential investors must be encouraged to invest in startups.

The French President, François Hollande, has decided that all measures fostering innovation, including fiscal ajustments, will be spared in the years to come.

Third, we want start-ups to be supported by the best entrepreneurs and ecosystems.

I recently launched a public investment initiative to support programs such as accelerators, fablabs, coding camps. Only one condition: to be business-driven projects, with a strong value proposition for startups, led by entrepreneurs and, of course, with a business model!

That’s my ambition, we still have a lot of work on our plates, but the vision is clear, the will is here, the ecosystem is here, the serial and the young tech entrepreneurs are here.

We have drastically changed our way of thinking and of acting! It’s a new French model, focusing on creative skills, on innovation, on entrepreneurship, on openness and on start-ups!

La French Tech, has never be so alive so France can claim to be Europe’s start-up nation!

I hope to meet very soon in Paris our friends from abroad who will choose France and la French Tech to expand their operations in Europe!

Thank you all!

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