Fight against French IT bashing gathers steam with launch of the Paris Tech Guide

A new guide to the French capital aims to transform people's perception of the local startup scene.

Since its launch at the end of 2014, the Paris Tech Guide has been met with praise and acclaim by the tech community and has garnered over 55,000 views on Slideshare, with more than 70 precent of those clicks coming from outside France.

Launched last month with the hashtag #Parisisback, the guide was created by Alice Zagury, CEO of Paris startup accelerator TheFamily, and Martin Mignot of international VC firm Index Ventures.

The Paris Tech Guide gives a concise and critical view of France's tech industry. Designed to inform those seeking an up-to-date snapshot of the current tech scene and how it's evolved, the guide outlines who the major players are and details why Paris is one of the best startup cities in the world. It also upends existing stereotypes and perceptions of doing business in the capital.

The launch of the guide comes at a time when, as Mignot wrote for Index Ventures recently, "France, and Paris at the heart of it, has quietly emerged as a tech powerhouse". Challenging preconceived ideas that young entrepreneurs must pay high taxes and that hiring and firing is difficult, the Paris Tech Guide reveals that "young and innovative companies get significant tax rebates" through JEI and CIR schemes, and that trial periods of six months allow companies to test the waters before committing to employees.

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It also challenges common conceptions that London is a more suitable environment for nurturing entrepreneurism. France is on a par with the UK capital, says the Paris Tech Guide, stating that just as $1.3bn was invested in the UK in 2013, more than $1bn was invested in over 700 early-stage startups in France, 40 to 50 percent of which are based in Paris. France is also the "number one European country in company creations with 550,000 in 2012," says the guide.

"Martin and I worked together on this presentation because we wanted it to work as a referral for anyone interested to know what the Paris tech scene is like," Alice Zagury, CEO of TheFamily, said. "We wanted to show who the important names are on the scene, who does what, and who entrepreneurs should connect with."

The Paris Tech Guide also champions France's engineering excellence, thriving tech ecosystem, transport infrastructure, and tech schools such as EPITA and 42. 42 was founded by Xavier Neil, France's most famous entrepreneur, who runs mobile and internet service company Free.

A fightback against French-bashing (coming from both Anglo-Saxon and local sources) has arisen voraciously across social media in recent months, illustrated in one way through the increased usage of the hashtag #Frenchbashing.

France's performance at CES in Las Vegas this year should help to raise the country's profile as a tech centre. The most represented EU country at this event with 120 companies, France saw five of its companies win awards for their innovative products: Cityzen Sciences, Giroptic, Lima, Voxtok, and Withings.

The French government is also working to help accelerators support start-ups by launching the French Tech Accélération fund, which has €200m to give through the government Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir (Future investments Programme).

Potentially an accelerator could receive more than €10m through this funding scheme, which is run for the state by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and managed by Bpifrance Investissement. An official call for applications was launched earlier this month.

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