Why France narrowly misses the status of world Tech champion

by bold-lichterman

Jon Evans’ point of view had sparked strong reactions in the French tech ecosystem. At the end of a press trip organized by Frenchtech, this American journalist dared to point to Techcrunch the lack of ambition of French start-ups. The fault, according to him, with the public policies of innovation which serve above all the interests of the large groups, and the lack of models of success inspiring the entrepreneurs.

A few weeks weeks later, Business France, the public agency responsible for selling France abroad, sought to take stock of the way in which international experts judge this attractiveness. In this report, that Frenchweb has obtained, the development agency has compiled data from various published international reports and rankings (since 2015 only) on the subject. We learn that while France has some strengths, international experts are aware of a number of delays.

Baiting champions …

First element of this compilation, the 6th place of Paris as the most welcoming city for start-ups in Europe, according to the European Digital Index 2015 (ahead of Berlin), and 11th globally according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking.

The city of Paris, which hosts 22,600 start-ups according to data from the Startup Hub taken up by the authors of the study, stands out in particular by its attractiveness to early-stage investors. With 650 to 700,000 dollars raised on average at the start of their activity, Parisian start-ups exceed their European neighbors, who raise an average of 600 to 650,000 dollars, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking.

Another advantage of France in terms of innovation: the quality of its engineering training and the strong capacity of French companies to assimilate technological innovations. At the European level, Paris thus comes in second position in terms of access to knowledge (quality of its research and budgets devoted to R&D) according to the European Digital Index. The country is particularly recognized in the fields of industry and artificial intelligence.

The first surprise of the Business France report is that foreign experts highlight the ease with which French companies have access to an international market. With 42% of the clients of Parisian start-ups who are Chinese or American, French capital is thus doing better than Silicon Valley according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking.

Finally, the quality of the infrastructure (transport and Internet connections) is also underlined, as well as the effectiveness of tax incentives such as the Research Tax Credit (CIR), which has made France the most attractive country for innovation. in Europe.

… which, however, do not meet the conditions for hyper-growth

Beyond these assets which should make France a leading country in terms of innovation, a number of factors are slowing the growth of French companies. After the first rounds of financing more attractive than their European neighbors, Parisian start-ups are struggling to convince international investors to invest larger amounts. In development capital, the latter raise an average of $ 4 to $ 4.5 million, compared to $ 7 to $ 7.5 million in London (Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking). Consequence of this phenomenon: only 5% of French entrepreneurs have experience in a hyper-growing start-up (5 times less than London entrepreneurs).

In addition to this difficulty in accessing external funding, there is the difficulty of recruiting qualified technical profiles. Paris ranks 16th in Europe in terms of attractiveness for technical profiles, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking. If engineers trained in French schools prefer the stability of large groups, the low levels of remuneration offered to these profiles can also explain this phenomenon ($ 53,000 on average in France, against 118,000 in Silicon Valley, according to the report. Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking).

Paris also suffers from a bad image due to its cost of living, much higher than in other European capitals: the city ranks 34th in terms of office rental costs, and 24th in terms of labor costs. on a European scale.

Finally, the report also points to the difficulty of France in rapidly changing its legislation to adapt to the new forms of society that are emerging, as well as the lack of entrepreneurial skills of the French (Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking).

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