This year’s Viva Technology was able to attract a record number of 91,000 visitors from 146 countries and 700 investment funds. Together with the regional states of Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and academic partners, our start-ups exhibited at own booths and participated in the pitching stage. Following the first day of the expo, our delegation enjoyed an exclusive evening at Voie 15 Paris that attracted 180 guests. Highlights of the show included not only the events and expo itself but also the insights we gained into our neighboring country’s tech ecosystem.
Government makes tech and start-up sector a priority
Paris boasts the highest number of engineering universities of any city in Europe, and two of the top ten best business schools are located in France. It is no wonder that French tech talent and people with business acumen find an ideal ecosystem for commercializing innovative ideas. With organizations such as Choose France and La French Tech, the government has put the tech sector at the forefront of its business and economic activities. These are complemented by intelligent changes to regulation on things like French tech visas, labour, company and fiscal laws and R&D tax credits. To overcome socio-economic barriers and support underrepresented groups such as women and poor and rural people, a special incubator scheme known as French Tech Trampoline has been launched. The private sector has also put a lot of effort into the development of local ecosystems with startup campuses such as Station F, which our delegation had the opportunity to visit.
Live and work it up in the world’s biggest start-up hub
Located in an old freight rail station, Station F is the world’s biggest start-up center, offering space for 1000 companies, 3000 workstations and 26 international incubation and accelerator programs. Successful unicorns such as Spendesk, BlaBlaCar and Doctolib have profited from the enormous network covering the entire value chain of business angels, VCs and start-ups in all phases. But as French founders know, life is not only for work but enjoyment as well. Station F also hosts a food market and several restaurants. In the end, creativity in the start-up world needs more than just pragmatic efficiency. Our start-ups agree that a little savoir-vivre does a world of good.