A number of British and American tech startups have made their way to Paris, taking advantage of new liberal policies and a stable political climate in France.
Under Emmanuel Macron, the government has sought to loosen labour regulations and welcome international talent – an approach it has been able to market effectively to millennials in the midst of Brexit negotiations and Trump’s tenure.
“What we’re starting to realize is that it might also be the political climate that is making these start-ups look for a new place,” said American Roxanne Varza, director of the startup incubator ‘Station F’.
Station F, located in central Paris, is a major draw for young companies. The ‘startup campus’ houses 3000+ desks, 8 event spaces, 4 kitchens and a rooftop tennis court. Entrepreneurs can apply for affordable desk space in the building, and may receive a full waiver if their situation demands it.
The complex is currently in the process of building a residential block with 600 spaces to accommodate entrepreneurs from around the world.
Station F received more applications from the UK and US than from any other countries – a trend which runs against the received knowledge that English-speaking businesses struggle to settle and operate in France.
The combination of new developments of this kind and a supportive state seems to be enough to outweigh the higher personal tax rate in the minds of entrepreneurs.
Jean Meyer, Frenchman and CEO / Founder of the dating app Once, posted a blog piece on the topic entitled ‘Bye London! We Are Moving to Paris. So Long and Thanks For All the Fish (and Chips!)’.
He said: “I have lost track of the number of developers, marketing managers or data scientists who refused to join us following the Brexit vote. Questions emerging around the British economy and the role of the UK in Europe cooled their interest, despite an interesting salary.
“Soft or Hard Brexit? How much will it cost to sponsor a visa? What will be the cost of inflation and devaluation of the British Pound? Uncertainty is the worst enemy of the entrepreneur and the signal coming from the United Kingdom through the Brexit vote is absolutely disastrous.”
The piece concludes: “French employment tax costs are higher than in the UK, but it does not matter. Because the real cost to an entrepreneur is the opportunity cost. And the opportunities available in Paris are substantial, as it fast becomes one of the most attractive cities in the world for startups thanks to a hyperactive eco-system (La French Tech), startup visas, access to capital and its gateway to the European market.”
Read more here.