Last week, we had the pleasure of attending La French Touch, a NYC conference held to celebrate and promote French tech. Along with a group of 200 others, we looked back on the successes and challenges of being a French startup. At times we laughed, other times we sighed in knowing agreement. There were speakers from a range of industries and healthy debate throughout.
The two-day conference brought together entrepreneurs and investors across both the French and New York tech ecosystems to discuss innovation, business and creativity. “By highlighting our innovative companies, we can show that we are not afraid of the future, we are prepared to make the most if it…and that France is a changing country,” Fleur Pellerin said in her keynote.
When the audience was asked to identify themselves, by show of hands, whether they were of French nationality, US nationality or held dual-status, there was an even distribution. It was neat to see that attendees were evenly split between those who flew in from France and those working for French startups based in NY (like the Mailjet NYC team!).
For those of you who couldn’t make it out, we’ve put together a few highlights from the conference. It was also recorded — the first day is already up on La French Touch’s Youtube channel.
WHAT’S THE FRENCH TOUCH?
“French Touch is..a manner of combining innovation and creativity. The blend of a new approach that shakes the status quo.” Fleur Pellerin, Secretary of State For Foreign Trade
CHALLENGES OF BEING A FRENCH STARTUP
“I wanted to avoid two very French pitfalls; the first is fragmentation, the second is failing to promote our successes” Fleur Pellerin, Secretary of State For Foreign Trade
“France is always seen as ‘Paris’ — but there is life outside of Paris” Lengow
A WORD OF ADVICE
“Winston Churchill is British, not French but I think his words are very relevant; never, never, never give up.” Nick Taranto, Co-Founder of Plated
“In food tech, in order to scale we need more physical storage space, not more cloud space.” Craig Kanarick, CEO of Mouth
"It’s much much more difficult to raise money in Europe”Meryl Job, Co-founder of Vide Dressing
THE WORLD OF DATA
“Big data helps us discover what you didn’t know you didn’t know” says Marc Rougier of Scoop.it
“There’s a joke that the best place to hide information is on the second page of Google. That’s not true, it’s actually the first page of Bing.” Marc Rougier of Scoop.it
WHERE WE’RE HEADED
"Today’s economy no longer has boundaries. Openness is the key to growth." Fleur Pellerin, Secretary of State For Foreign Trade
"Inventory, scalability and convenience. The three biggest things technology/ecomm enables us to do.” Morgan Hermand, Founder & CEO of Adore Me
“Every startup is in a race, and you can’t waste too much time in a small market.” Jerome Lecat, CEO of Scality
We’d also like to give a huge shoutout and congratulations to the winners of the startup contest; Jellynote and 1001 Menus. These two companies won the panel of judges over with their dynamic pitches and well-designed solutions. They’ve got the French Touch.
What are some of your personal successes, challenges or impressions of the French startup scene? Share in the comments below!