The trip was based around a wish to cement and continue to enhance collaboration and cooperation between the tech communities of the UK and France. It also coincided with a France Digital event.
Future Fifty and Upscale alumni
The delegates were made up of some of the UK’s brightest and best founders, including alumni of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty programme for high growth UK tech companies, such as Greg Marsh (OneFineStay), Toby Moore (Space Ape Games), and Taavet Hinrikus (Transferwise). Founders from a number of our Upscale (series A and scaling) programme alumni were also represented, with Tom Blomfield (Monzo), Adam Bird (Cronofy), Shachar Bialick (Curve), Tania Boler (Elvie), Dan Bladen (Chargifi), George Graham (Wolf & Badger), Tugce Bulut (Streetbees), Richard White (Goodlord), Sai Lakshimi (Echo), Simon Hay (Firefly), Nikhil Shah (Mixcloud), and Ishaan Malhi (Trussle) also making the trip across the channel.
Investment in tech
The party travelled to Paris from Kings Cross, where they took part in a workshop on how best to maintain and reinforce close constructive connections with French tech industry partners. The group were then greeted at the the home of Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, where an evening reception was held.
During his speech, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the priority of future-proofing the economy by staying ahead in emerging technologies such as AI. He discussed the importance of up-skilling the unemployed, removing regulatory and financial barriers for startups, and improving public spending efficiency by incorporating digital solutions into public services. He spoke about the French government’s commitment of investing €10bn in innovation, as well as renewing support of LaFrenchTech, with €18m per year.
Meeting French founders
The evening reception was held with 100 “pass French Tech” laureates, representing France’s top 100 growing startups. The next day, the UK entrepreneurs met the Deputy Mayor of Paris who spoke about promoting positive reinforcement of ties between Paris and London, and how to continue working together.
Before heading back to London, the group headed to France Digitale Day where a few took part in a panel on the opportunities of collaboration post Brexit, with political commentator Nina Shick, Transferwise CEO Taavet Hinrikus, Financial Times political correspondent Janan Ganesh, CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute Sean Randolph, and former French Minister of Digital Affairs Fleur Pellerin.
The French government understand the necessity for close cooperation with its their closest allies in tech. As Europe’s most established and successful tech nation, the UK dominates in terms of the number of startups, amount of investment, and the influence of our successful high-growth tech companies. We must, however, ensure that we continue to nurture our collaborative tech ecosystem, and maintain our momentum in growing a robust pipeline for scaling digital businesses.
Part of the way that we try to do that is through our growth programmes Northern Stars (seed/pre-seed stage) Upscale (series A) and Future Fifty (high growth). If you’d like to get involved, applications for Upscale are open now, and we’ll be recruiting for the next Future Fifty cohort from next month.