Born in the north of France, I grew up in Brittany where I started my study. After 4 years at the University of Economics I spent a whole year in Bavaria (Germany) where I also studied business finance before heading to Paris where I graduated in Marketing and Market Research from Sciences Po, a famous university.
I now live in Levallois-Perret, almost at the heart of the Paris area which counts 12 million inhabitants and roughly 18% of the total French population. Levallois is often unofficially presented as the 21st arrondissement of Paris (I guess you get it, Paris has 20 arrondissements, each of them being an administrative division of the city but that’s not really important, it just shows how important Levallois-Perret is). As a consequence, I can walk to Paris which takes me a maximum of 10 minutes from my place.
Levallois-Perret was created by Mr Levallois in 1845 based on the idea of Mr Perret. From the foundation on, this city has always had high ambitions. Many industrial workshops and factories settled in Levallois in the car industry (Citroen, Clément Bayard, Jaeger) and in the building sector: Gustave Eiffel designed and produced in his factory here every single piece of the tower that bears his name in the neighbor city, Paris. The same with the little statue on Liberty Island (NY): every single piece was designed in Levallois and the Statue was erected in New York.
Levallois-Perret has now 65,000 inhabitants (on 2.5 square kilometers which gives an amazing population density: 26,000 inhabitants/km2, one of the highest in the world). But the craziest fact about my city is the number of companies here: over 7,500 companies welcome 62,000 people every day, mainly in the industry, media, insurance and services. As a few examples L’Oréal, BASF, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Swiss Life, PWC and SAP. Despite it’s a nice city to live in along the Seine River.
Along the river
SAP France headquarters
Having said that, what does it show? I think it reflects somehow the business situation in France. We have either (extra) large enterprises, either headquarters in France and subsidiaries of foreign companies with no real decision makers, or small companies.
From an industrial world to a Tech world
In the last 18 months, France has been number 1 in Europe in terms of number of seed laps [ie number of start-ups raising their first funds]. Mechanically, France will exceed the United Kingdom in 2018, while she was still a dwarf three or four years ago, “adds the investor. Partech Ventures has raised 1 billion euros over the last eighteen months, including a third to France. France is entering a tech world. What you named something.com a couple of years ago is now somethingTECH (even the best science universities in Paris have merged into ParisTech).
Our best salesman said a few weeks ago during the Paris Vivatech Event in May 2018: “A start-up nation is a nation where everyone can say they can create a start-up. I want France to be one”
President Macron: “The Macron effect is very positive abroad. It’s a com beast. When he sells the start-up France, people buy the idea.”
I think this is a real challenge for the French economy but also a promising set of opportunities if these companies want to grow internationally. Here we go!