Manifesto to ignite the startup ecosystem in Europe
2017. 12. 12.
Skelter Labs has grasped a great opportunity to browse and learn about the French and European startup environments through the YEi Start, an accelerator designed to help foreign innovative startups identify opportunities for growth in France and in Europe.
Christi, one of our young and talented product managers, was assigned to participate in the program and went on a business trip to France for a week. As an aspiring global tech company, getting to further scope and experience ‘what it is like to expand our business in Europe’ is quite essential for us.
(Day 1 @French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
YEi Start in France offers an immersion week in which participants engage in special training sessions and 1:1 meetings to network with other startups and partners in France.
For the first three days in Paris, the training sessions regarding R&D infrastructure and regulations, tech business landscape, and guide to operating businesses in France within following topics:
- Setting up new businesses
- Financing the company
- Startup assistance services
- How to apply for French Tech Visa
- Hiring and firing social environment
- Tax haven research and tax credit
- Banking services (loan, tax benefits, real-estate and others)
- Working in France: recognizing cultural differences
These sessions took place at the startup campus in France ‘Le Cargo’ and ‘Station-F.’ According to Christi, she was most impressed by the transformation of ‘Station F’ from the train station to the giant startup campus. It is known as the biggest startup campus in the world and the central hub for the French tech ecosystem. Some parts of the building are managed by the big-name partners such as Facebook, Zendesk, and Microsoft. Young and premature stage startups come in and work at Station F to collaborate with them, in which those programs provide great opportunities for the startups to grow and scale.
(Day 3 @Station F)
The rest of the immersion week took place in Montpellier for two days to build extensive business network. Christi attended the Digiworld Summit to engage in an intensive international debate over investment strategies. With its theme “Investing in our Digital Future”, the deputy director from European Commission has announced that creating the wave of digital transformation to every business is the primary goal and Europe is on their way to take the first step of building one digital central market.
At the Montpellier Business and Innovation Centre, Christi had a chance to meet several AI startups and Montpellier University R&D lab. Recent hottest topic for French AI companies was definitely ‘Healthcare’ and the most of them were B2B-driven.
Montpellier is known as the paradise for R&D institutes and companies due to its high R&D tax credit benefit and ideal surroundings for software developers. According to Christi, Montpellier was very similar to California - nice weather, family-friendly environment and Silicon Valley-like R&D density.
(Day 4 @Montpellier city center)
It truly was golden to experience how European communities welcome foreign startups and there still are countless opportunities in tech and AI. The gust of technological revolution and digitalization for all economic sectors has enlightened the European Union. It started to highly emphasize the importance of digital transformation, which led EU to provide the Big Data Package policy to allow the European companies to share and access public data among all the European countries.
There were also some notable cultural aspects that differentiated France as one of the optimal place for the startups. The French startups stretch the importance of diversity as one of their greatest assets. One of the startups Christi met in Montpellier had over twenty different nationalities among sixty members.
French culture in general highly focuses on maintaining the quality of life. For example, an official email from HR circulates to remind everyone that lunches cannot be taken at desks. And France having the highest amount of paid time-off with the average of 30 days a year among in the developed world, cannot be more different than of Korean work culture.
(Day 2 @Le Cargo, session on working in France: recognizing cultural differences)
Participating in the YEi Start in France has shaken us up to turn our attention to other aspects as a tech company going after innovation. The innovation in technology and product can only happen if there is innovation in the culture and the environment. Acknowledging the importance of diversity in work and cultural background is truly a key asset to grow as a global company. In as much as innovation depends on the team and people, providing the constant support for personal growth and education will lead us to fulfill Skelter Labs’ mission to improve daily lives through machine intelligence. Moreover, not only as the organization, but also as the country as a whole needs to step a foot and commit to derive positive startup ecosystem if we truly want to be the country that leads the innovation, once again.