French President Emmanuel Macron is gearing up to address a group of leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists, when he will urge them to invest in the country’s startups and will also call on them not to steal the best creations coming out of the country.
Reuters, citing four sources, reported the leaders of some of the biggest U.S.-based tech VCs — including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic — are among the 40 expected to come to Paris this week to get a tour of the startup scene in France. The two-day meeting will include presentations from tech players that are already investing in French startups and visits to its incubator and tech startup hubs in Paris. During an event hosted by Marcon, he will reportedly urge the VCs to help the French startups grow rather than encouraging the entrepreneurs to move to the U.S.
“We will tell them: it’s an ecosystem, your best interest is to do like in Britain and Israel — invest here and don’t move everything (to the U.S.),” the source said. The event with the VCs was scheduled before protests across France broke out that resulted in riots in the French capital. The report noted that with protesters challenging his authority and with anti-capitalist slogans sprawled on banks and high-end stores this past weekend, Macron is expected to have his work cut out for him to counter the damage that has been done.
Still, the report noted that the tech scene in France has been booming recently in part thanks to Marcon's efforts to turn the country into a startup nation. Aides to Macron told Reuters that the tech sector in France is planning on taking advantage of the Brexit to overtake the U.K. “We think the French ecosystem will outgrow the one in England in the coming years,” is one of the messages the U.S. investors will hear, a source told Reuters. Goldman Sachs and private equity fund KKR are also among the attendees, noted the report. French companies told Reuters that among the startups the most promising ones need more funding if they are going to remain in France. Investments haven’t been large enough to create unicorns, which are startups with valuations of more than $1 billion.