Paris: Take your startup to the City of Lights

Paris’s startup scene is bustling with over 21 000 startups, and the city is frequently ranked as one of Europe’s best places to scale your business. The city has several hundred co-working spaces and hosts the world’s largest incubator, Station F. Innovation Norway’s Paris office is located at one of these co-working spaces, and we would love to welcome you to town. A government-funded welcome programme has also been launched for foreign startup companies to make it easier for you to establish in France.

A thriving startup scene in Paris
Paris was ranked as the 6th best city for both startups and scale-ups in Europe by the European Digital City Index 2016 due to the “well-developed venture capital industry and several world-class research institutions, together with an increasing number of co-working spaces and accelerators”. The highest ranked cities on the list are London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen, respectively, indicating a strong Scandinavian presence among the best EU startup cities.

According to more than 21 000 startups employ nearly 130 000 people in Paris and have attracted EUR 3.74 billion in funding. The city’s success stories include the web advertising company Criteo, the car sharing system BlaBlaCar, and the music streaming Deezer. The Parisian incubator “Station F” that opened in 2017, hosts 1000 startups on 30 000 m2, making it the world’s largest startup incubator.

The European Digital City Index pinpoints that Paris is ranked by CITIE as a frontrunner city in terms of policy environment, ahead of San Francisco. However, “adoption of many digital technologies is slower in France than in several other European countries. In addition, living in Paris is quite expensive, providing a further obstacle to some entrepreneurs”.

French Tech
French Tech” represents all the players that make up the French startup scene. It is also an ambitious government policy that aims to put France among the big “startup nations. The French Tech initiative was launched by the government in 2013, believing that successful startups will create economic value and jobs in France. Included in the French Tech initiative is an investment fund of EUR 200 million to the accelerators of private startups, and EUR 15 million to enhance international attractiveness. In 2016 alone, more than EUR 2 billion was raised through the programme.

Welcome package to attract foreign startups to Paris
The French Tech Ticket is a programme for foreign entrepreneurs to establish and develop their ideas and startups in Paris in very favorable conditions. For the 2017 edition, around 180 foreign entrepreneurs with 70 startups were selected to join one of 41 French incubators, of which 21 are located in Paris. The French Tech Ticket welcome package includes EUR 45 000 of funding, 12 months of free office space in an incubator, mentoring, master classes, networking events and two demo days with investors. See French Tech Ticket for more information.

Paris&Co is the city of Paris’s agency for economic development and innovation. Paris&Co promotes Paris’s innovation ecosystem internationally in order to attract foreign investors, support startups and organize business events. Paris&Co has for example launched Comet, an incubator located in the heart of Paris that is specially designed for foreign startups. Comet provides full-fledged immersion in the Parisian ecosystem, support and mentorship for many foreign startups from around the world.

Paris&Co also offers a “Paris Landing Pack”, a 4-week business acceleration programme. The programme lets startups test their product or service on the French market and helps them connect with the Parisian network of businesses and partners.

Paris&Co’s theme-based incubation programmes focus on digital publishing, innovation in tourism, innovation in sports, e-health, food, digital, cultural and creative industries, smart cities, tomorrow’s real estate, social entrepreneurship and finance.

Upcoming startup events in Paris in 2019

Continuous – Station F events: The worlds’ largest startup lab organises regular events and workshops. Check out their calendar.

29-30 January 2019, Paris Fintech Forum: More than 2600 participants from 72 countries gather for 2 days in the heart of Paris to exchange with 240+ CEOs from banks, insurance, telecom and regulators. The place to be for aspiring fintech firms.

21 March 2019, Hacking de l’Hôtel de Ville: On this day, the mayor of Paris gives the keys to the city hall to 1100 startups, experts, investors and corporates from France and abroad for the 5th annual startup and innovation event.

14-15 March 2019, Hello Tomorrow Global Summit: a global startup summit dedicated to “deeptech”,  science & technology startups.

16-18 May 2019, Vivatech: Has established itself as the place where world leaders in technology and business meet promising startups and the disruptors of tomorrow . More than 100 000 visitors, 9000 startups and 1900 investors.

Smart Mobility Techmeeting aims to find solutions to Paris’s booming smart mobility market whichrepresents 41 million trips each day, a 17% traffic increase in 10 years.” Holds regular events.

More information?
Please contact Eli Rognerud at Innovation Norway’s office in Paris for more information about opportunities for startups in France.

Eli Wærum Rognerud
Senior Adviser
Innovation Norway, Paris
T: +47 91 84 31 42 / +33 6 15 34 84 41

Photo: Luca Micheli, 

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