Paris: the city of light, the city of love, and now the city of collaboration. Whatever you want to call it, the French capital is one of the best contemporary examples of the current development of the sharing economy. Boasting a strong startup scene that has attracted some of the most successful companies on the market today, Paris is showing no signs of slowing down.
A city with over 2 and a half million people, the French capital is famous for its lively energy, excellent food, and relaxed nature. Upon first impression, it’s easy to imagine moving into a charming Parisian apartment, spending the day in one of the city’s many gardens, drinking wine and enjoying the city’s incredibly beautiful architecture. Of course it’s possible, but not without some money in the bank.
Unlike some of the other European startup hubs, like Slovenia and Belgrade, the Paris startup community has been well established, which makes living there relatively expensive. Entrepreneurs looking to start a company are encouraged to get to know the local community, as it has not only shaped the startup scene on a local level, but has been a major influence on likeminded communities around the world.
Paris’s Influential Startup Scene
The city of light has some big names under its belt in regards to successful startups.
Dailymotion is perhaps one of the best-known sites to offer video content on the web, which provides “an international catalog of tens of millions of HD videos across all digital devices”. With over 120 million unique visits per month, Dailymotion has expanded outside it’s hometown and has established several creative partnerships, like Fulham Football club, making it the world’s second largest video streaming site next to YouTube. In 2008, Daniel Marhely, also entered the international spotlight when he founded the French answer to Spotify. After making agreements with major labels and artists, Deezer is now one of the biggest legal streaming sites, with around 20 million registered users.
A mix of professionalism and an open-minded attitude towards new ideas, newcomers in Paris can get their foot in the door by exploring one of the many hubs and accelerators aimed at developing innovative concepts. The city’s first official startup accelerator, NUMA, was born out of the city’s first coworking space, La Cantine. Today NUMA focuses on “community events, startup acceleration, and innovation programs for corporates”, which they mentor companies in their nascent stages and even those that may be ready for market.
Former writer for Deskmag and an expert on coworking in France, Remy Cagnol, believes that “since the creation of the label “French Tech” coined in 2014, the startup scene gets way more visibility. Since then the French startup delegation has been present at important trade shows around the world, like the global innovation conference (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.” Because of the enormous amount of attention in recent years, entrepreneurs in Paris are now looking to expand. In 2016 the city’s largest startup incubator 1000 Startups plans to open and will be largely focused on the tech community.
Finding a Community in Paris
For those who may not necessarily be tech-oriented, and are simply looking to find a new community in Paris, you’re in luck. Cagnol describes how the coworking movement has grown dramatically in the last 5 years and goes on to explain that “there are now 250 spaces in France, and the coworking scene is very developed throughout France, even in smaller cities and rural areas,” he continues.
Today the Paris startup landscape is comprised of hubs, accelerators and coworking spaces, focusing on everything from startups to social entrepreneurship. Spaces like Microsoft Ventures Accelerators provides a 3-month program “aimed at helping startups build their products and strengthen their businesses.” The program offers technical, design and business coaching from companies like Eventbrite, Deezer and Criteo, all free of charge.
Recent Developments (The following section is added by Jumpstart team)
Start Up in Paris! A new program called the French Tech Ticket just opened for non-french entrepreneurs to encourage them to set-up in Paris. The program comes with a grant, free office space, and mentors. Every six months, 50 people will be awarded this French Tech Ticket and the first batch will start in January 2016. (frenchtechticket.paris)
- In 2016, Paris will launch the world’s largest digital business incubator capable of hosting 1,000 startups in a space that was formerly a train station. (1000startups.fr)
Cool Ideas from France
Have fun with your veggies! A French digital-manufacturing company called Le Fab released free downloadable 3D-printable parts that transform fruits and veggies into four-wheelers, helicopters and submarines. These open source objects are appropriately called “Open Toys,” and help make fruits and veggies fun for kids. (lefabshop.fr)
Photo-taking Mirror: Riding the popularity of selfies, a French company created a photo-taking mirror that can enhance a shopping experience or be used at events. Users can retrieve their photos via an app and share it with friends and family for immediate feedback. (pixglass.com)
Touchscreen on your Skin. Cicret Bracelet is a groundbreaking wearable that makes your skin function as a touchscreen projecting interface of any smartphone onto your arm. (cicret.com)
Epilepsy-sensing wearable. There are over 50 million people with have epilepsy worldwide. Recording seizures is vital to assessing the condition, but that is costly and time-consuming. Bioserenity invented smart clothing equipped with biometric sensors that records physiological characteristics in order to analyze and alert doctors and family to the patient’s condition.(bioserenity.com)
By Amanda Gray