In 2018, the French Tech Visa will be offered by 51 identified tech players from all over France, who have been selected following an application procedure. 3 local accelerators are on this list of partners, selected for their ability to accommodate projects led by international entrepreneurs: Village by CA 35, IMT Atlantique and Le Booster.
What is the French Tech Visa?
A new tool to attract international talent and facilitate its arrival in France! More concretely, it is based on the “Passeport Talent”, launched in late 2016, which offers a residence permit to foreign candidates who meet a series of eligibility criteria.
This 4-year permit, awarded to successful candidates and their families, illustrates France’s general desire, and more specifically in the tech field, to attract more talented immigrants.
The partners selected will act as points of entry for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to develop their projects in the French ecosystem, offering an English-language support program, a physical hosting location and help integrating into the French Tech ecosystem. Read on for a description of our 3 accelerators.
Village by CA Ille-et-Vilaine
Located in La Courrouze, Rennes’ new financial district, Le Village by CA Ille-et-Vilaine can offer hosting and support for around twenty startups. It has three primary missions: to boost the development of innovative young companies, facilitate local innovation-related discussion, and foster relationships between startups and decision-makers from its large partner companies as part of an open innovation approach.
For François Cormier, its Executive Manager, the obtention of the French Tech Visa for the Villages by CA network (21 Villages open, and 30 by late 2018) reinforces the international component of this acceleration and innovation service provided by Groupe Crédit Agricole: “startups’ international development and innovation is in the very DNA of the Villages by CA, which help them grow their businesses to the industrial scale. In a global market, and thanks to the relay functions provided by the twenty-odd CACIB (Crédit Agricole Corporate Investment Bank) International Desks, the startups assisted by the Villages by CA and their partners already enjoy a unique growth driver. With the French Tech Visa label, and with the open-minded, open innovation approach that characterizes the Villages by CA network, entrepreneurs can benefit from the feedback and best practices of the foreign project leaders welcomed at each Village by CA.”
Since 1998, the IMT Atlantique incubator (the product of the merger of Mines Nantes and Télécom Bretagne), has accompanied startups in the school’s areas of excellence. Today, up to 45 startups can take part in the 18-month incubation program, which combines technological and managerial assistance and access to funding. Constant interaction between researchers, students and the partner companies, who have a strong campus presence, offers entrepreneurs a rich environment for the launch of their businesses. The flagship fields of the IMT Atlantique incubator in Rennes are cybersecurity, the internet of things and smart cities.
A holder of the French Tech Ticket label since season 2, it assisted 3 winning projects in 2017.
An international alignment is part of the DNA of IMT Atlantique. With 40% foreign students, 70 nationalities represented on the campuses, and 200 academic partners worldwide, there is a high concentration of potential project leaders. This openness naturally extends to the incubator, with 8 startups led by foreign entrepreneurs over the last 3 years in Rennes and Brest. It is an important vector for value and job creation in our territories. The startups currently under development in Rennes include ACKLIO (Bulgaria), BUGLAB (Morocco) and LAMANE (Morocco). These last two are part of the French Tech Ticket program.
For Marianne Laurent, the head of the IMT Atlantique incubator in Rennes, “by facilitating the administrative steps for foreign project leaders, this new French Tech Visa program is an additional, attractive tool, like the French Tech Ticket. To give an example of a success story involving a startup headed by an foreign entrepreneur with the incubator’s assistance, IMASCAP sold for €75m in January of this year. Its founder, from Damascus, Syria, arrived in France to complete a master’s degree, followed by a dissertation at IMT Atlantique.”
Stéphanie Fen Chong, the head of Le Booster, explains how the French Tech Visa furthers Le Booster’s goals: “French Tech Rennes St Malo has developed its own assistance program, Le Booster, in partnership with CCI Ille-et-Vilaine. Over 6 seasons, 50 projects have been assisted in their early stages, taking them from the idea stage to their first forays onto the market. With the French Tech Visa, the Booster can internationalize its search for projects and identify talented entrepreneurs.”
Since its creation, French Tech Rennes St Malo’s ambition has been to position the region as one of the most dynamic and promising ecosystems for the digital economy: “The obtention of the French Tech Visa mechanism for three of the territory’s acceleration structures and programs is a step in this direction. Along with the other mechanisms for attracting international talent, namely the Cité Internationale, l’EIT ICT Labs, and now the French Tech Ticket and Visa, Rennes and Saint-Malo possess key advantages for the development of major projects in the territory.”