On 5 September 2016, Rainmaking Loft hosted the event „La French Tech Berlin“ featuring the French Minister of State for the Digital Sector and Innovation Axelle Lemaire. Some of our Berlin-based GFYL alumni followed our invitation to listen to her thoughts on French Tech and Berlin as an international startup hub, and to learn more about the diverse landscape of exciting French-influenced Berlin-based startups.
In early September, Axelle Lemaire visited Berlin not only in her role as a member of the French government but also as a representative of „La French Tech“ — an initiative launched by the French government in 2013 to support and promote the strongly growing French startup ecosystem in France and abroad. During the event the Minister of State underlined the importance of the timing that Berlin and Paris join forces more strongly in the tech field. Indeed it seems that Berlin and Paris are of the same opinion when it comes to the potential that the German-French friendship can hold for both countries and the European tech sector.
It is in precisely that context that more and more events in the Berlin and Paris start-up world and digital scene center around — or at least highlight — the close ties between both countries: After the first "French-German EUnicorns Day Berlin“ organised by the French Embassy in spring, the Berlin offices of the startup hub Rainmaking Loft invited to „La French Tech Berlin“ — a welcome opportunity for French and German entrepreneurs or French-German supporters and enthusiasts to mingle. As a matter of fact, the location was not a coincidence: As has been rumored, Berlin, next to Tokyo and New York, is supposed to become part of a global network of tech entrepreneurs, investors and executives called „French Tech Hubs“. With Rainmaking Loft as its headquarter in Berlin.
With that future role in mind, the coworking space and facilitator called upon its own members representing the French entrepreneurial scene in the German capital to show the diversity of the French tech scene abroad. Six startups — all with a finished product for sale — followed the call: From Smiirl and their tool to narrow the link between physical and digital identities, the rapid mobile application development platform Productive Mobile, and the workout and games combiner Vescape to the self-proclaimed „European search engine champion“ Qwant, the European Vice President of Local Motors, and the online platform Civocracy connecting citizens, local governments and stakeholders.
When talking to French entrepreneurs about the reasons why they decided to cross the Rhine and set up their (or at least a) base in Berlin, it is very likely that they will start listing a similar list like the six Rainloft startups and Lemaire: the favorable regulatory environment, the comparatively low costs of living, the well-established international community… Furthermore, for Axelle Lemaire the French-German tech couple is complementing each other perfectly with the French contributing creativity and the Germans processes and the capacity to implement.
But Lemaire’s hopes for a stronger startup ecosystem do not limit themselves to Germany and France. The French Minister of State who herself has been living in London for 12 years and holds double nationality (French/Canadian) also includes Europe in her vision for more cooperation. One may only think of the competitive advantages a union of countries can have over competing regions in the world. Doesn’t that make you dream, too?