Soft-Landing in Paris, getting to know La French Tech

In May, IMT starter, the Soft-Landing French partner, welcomed in Paris a delegation of startups, scaleups and ecosystem builders with the goal to discover the French startup ecosystem during a one week Mission.

During the Mission, participants experienced the French entrepreneurial environment, and had the opportunity to connect with investors and funding organizations, as well as to work with business mentors who challenged the startups’ business ideas.

Day 1

On day 1, Augustin Radu, IMT Starter’s Deputy Director welcomed eight startups at Arcueil Branch. He briefed the delegation about the Soft-Landing mission in Paris and IMT Starter incubator.

The day continued with a pitch session of startups and scaleups, where all the participants, business mentors, and advisors challenged their business ideas. The theme of the discussion was finding a key DNA that helps young businesses to accelerate and survive in the European ecosystem including discovering proper mentor and investment in the targeted ecosystem.

Day 2

Day 2 started with “a shadow board”, one-on-one mentoring session for each company with successful entrepreneurs. The mentors challenged the participant’s business ideas and explored discussion on policy-making, ecosystem leaders, political and social aspects in expanding to the French market, other European countries and eventually, to Silicon Valley.

Day 3

At 8 am on day three, we received 15 ecosystem builders in Paris and soon after, headed to IMT Starter Incubator. Startups, ecosystem builders and speakers had the chance to network over a petit déjeuner, with café and croissant.

Afterwards, we took a short trip to Genopole, a first biocluster in the France entirely dedicated to biotherapies, genetic research and development of biotechnology industries.

After the quick networking and tour of the southern suburbs of Paris, we continued to visit the world’s biggest startup campus, STATION F. Afterwards, BPI France and WILCO presented their expertise on funding and boosting businesses in France. Olivier Heckmann, Pierre Vilpoux and Guillaume Dupont, a panel of successful entrepreneurs, shared their views and understanding on the European and French entrepreneurial ecosystems. Scaling up a business and access to funding were the main discussion topics.

After an eventful day, we ended with a dinner, an introduction to true French culinary for our SoftLanders.

Day 4

On the fourth day, we provided the participants access to VivaTech, the world’s meeting point for startups and leaders. One of our SoftLanders reflects on one of the key moments of the Mission:

The expo Paris, the Viva technology, which was also part of the mission, offering numerous benefits, such as understanding of state-of-the-art in industry, familiarising participants with the latest successful worldwide startups, finding innovative tech solutions for facilitating business growth, making proper connections for implementation such solutions.”

– Stefan Bodi

Day 5

In addition, the participants benefited from a networking event in Paris region Enterprise, introducing R&D partnership, financing tools, and business opportunities. The last day was eventful, comprising a meeting with La French Tech and Systematic Cluster who introduced the community of entrepreneurs and startups in France and abroad.

Later on, participants met with a panel of successful entrepreneurs, namely Julien Coulon and Tanguy Yu, who shared their experiences and gave their insights comparing the US and European startup ecosystems.

After a good brief feedback session, the Paris Mission came to an end. Our participants shared their experience of #SoftLandingEU in Paris with IMT starter. Here are some testimonials:

“I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit sceptical about the program. Everything was excellent from day 1! Everything was organised at the highest level, I’ve learned everything I could in just 5 days. The knowledge I’ve got and connections I’ve made during the Soft-Landing programme are exceptional and invaluable. IMT Starter is a working proof of excellence and pure desire to help startups to achieve success. IMT Starter – thank you very much and hope to work with you together very soon!”

– Polilas “Paul” Dudobnis

“Paris makes a strong case for the crown of European startup kingdom. Long known as a private party for the French in recent years, Paris emerged as a true international tech hub. For those more attentive this transition comes as no surprise. It is a result of years of political will, generous private support and determination for innovation. I was lucky to see all of this first hand thanks to the great program of Soft-Landing. During the intense 3-day course, we met with VCs, established entrepreneurs, policy makers and ecosystem leaders to 1) gain amazing insights into the Paris ecosystem and 2) make contacts with great and ambitious people from all across Europe. Definitely recommended.”

– Rapolas Rucinskas  

This article was written by IMT Starter.

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There will be more Missions in Paris for startups and ecosystem builders in 2018 and 2019. Stay tuned!