French startups are booming and spearheading both the country’s economy and the “Digital for All, Now!” movement. A survey published in June by EY and think-tank France Digitale showed that startups’ revenue jumped 43% between 2012 and 2013. But whilst most of these companies, which are a major growth driver in France, are launched at trade fairs or in student bedrooms, they need a dynamic ecosystem in order to flourish. So how can you find the ideal breeding ground for developing a startup?
This is what we asked ourselves when we explored the Shaker, a dedicated open innovation campus which officially opened its doors at 33 rue du Mail in Paris on 17 December.
A DEDICATED INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM
The purpose of this 2,200-m² space is to create an ecosystem of startups and large corporations who can collaborate and develop their businesses. The venue is fitted out with digital tools to enable the resident companies to innovate their processes and products, which is crucial in order to stand out from the competition.
“There’s been a real shift in the dynamic between enterprises and startups,” says Romain Lavault, General Partner at Partech Ventures, which launched the Shaker. “Large corporations have the clout, a strong client base, and so forth. Startups, meanwhile, have the ability to innovate and respond quickly to the market. This combination creates something really unique.”
According to Bruno Grossi, Executive Director in charge of Strategy, Acquisitions and Communications at Econocom, a partner of the Shaker:
“Large corporations benefit from a refreshing, challenging environment. Bringing them together with startups gives them an idea of how fast the digital transformation is sweeping over the French economy.”
Startups stand to gain too…
A VENUE TO ATTRACT TALENT
With digital furniture, rest areas and meeting rooms equipped with the latest technologies and a terrace with panoramic views of Paris, the Shaker is an ideal venue for developing a startup.
“We’re at the development stage and needed a place to meet people, but also to work in an attractive setting”, says Julien Cohen-Solal, co-founder of startup Kartable.
His partner Sarah Besnaïnou, adds:
“The Shaker enables us to collaborate with other entrepreneurs of our age. Interacting with other people makes us feel as though we’re part of something bigger.”
The Shaker is thus an ideal environment to support budding digital talents and, by extension, boost the French economy: the EY and France Digitale report revealed that 1,376 jobs were created in one year by the 116 companies interviewed, and over 9 out of 10 of these positions were permanent contracts while just 1% were internships.
So these bright young things need nurturing – and that’s precisely what Jeudigitaux, an initiative launched by Axelle Lemaire, French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, is about. Organised once a month and with an appearance by a different MP each time, the aim of these events is to bring together large groups and startups:
“It’s good to be part of an ecosystem with such a variety of players,” says Lemaire. […] “The aim is to get people networking and throw ideas around. That’s what stimulates innovation and new projects and boosts growth.”