New French startup fund launches with €24 million

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In previous years it’s fair to say that France has not exactly been a hotbed of entrepreneurship, despite actually coming up with the word entrepreneur. It’s perhaps not hard to see why when you visit. There is a general anti-business culture and talking about business or money is seen as beneath mainstream society. French students are also not well prepared for the real world. For instance, there are 65,000 psychology students in France – that is a quarter of the European total for that subject.

However, to think this is still the case is to completely miss the sea-change that is happening right now over last year and this.

Our recent TechCrunch Paris event was buzzing with entrepreneurs, and TechCrunch France has relaunched with a bang. Recent tax changes for investors are now supercharging the scene. Watch for a longer post on that soon from our France editor, Roxanne Varza.

So it’s fascinating to see that ISAI, billed as the French internet entrepreneurs’ fund, has announced the first closing of its “ISAI Developpement” fund, dedicated to early stage internet investments.

It will have €24m under management and brings together about 60 internet and software entrepreneurs under one umbrella to fund young companies and apply its collective experience, skills and networks.

The fund was founded in late 2008 by Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet (ex of PriceMinister), Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux (Virgin Mobile France), Stephane Treppoz (Sarenza) and Ouriel Ohayon (ex editor of TechCrunch France).

The fund will be led by Jean-David Chamboredon (ISAI CEO, ex-3i) and Christophe Raynaud (ISAI COO, ex- Paris Business Angels). It will invest between €0.5m to €1.5m in startup internet companies.

It’s a good time to be a startup in France.

  • de Tocqueville

    France sucks.

  • http://www.kirstenwinkler.com Kirsten Winkler

    Really good news :).

  • http://www.gadgetcage.com Sandeep

    Good News !!

  • PVDude

    So exactly how does French venture investing work? How soon after they close an investment do they do they dissolve the venture and turn over the assets to Bertlesmann?

  • k

    Now is the time to use Google Chrome because it translates ISAI’s website.

    What’s missing in this article is information about those tax changes.

    • http://twitter.com/mikebutcher Mike Butcher
      • http://www.twitter.com/kriscobbaert k

        Thanks, Mike.
        I didn’t listen to everything but I heard a few keywords and I did a search.

        In France you can get a tax break up to 75% to a set limit of € 50,000 a year.
        It does depend on the kind of business entity.
        It’s 75% for a holding, and around 50% – € 20,000 on average for the other business entities.
        Why don’t other countries do this?

        Someone in the interview said it’s cheaper to start, and you don’t need insurance.
        All that matters.

        There’s room for improvement though.
        Most entrepreneurs don’t have revenues so how does it benefit them?
        It doesn’t, but some of them start out like freelancers and they try to make money like that while they build out their business.
        This tax system benefits them tremendously, imo.

        The data I saw tells me more investments are being made in France, while the numbers go down in the other parts of Europe.
        And important, the returns on investment go up.
        Need I say more?

        Entrepreneur is a French word!

        I wish it was a European word.
        The truth of the matter is that it’s a dirty word over here and the government punishes entrepreneurs.
        I don’t think I need to explain it to most of you, right?

  • Erika

    interesting

  • http://www.risedream.com/blog/ Technology Fever

    Something really good to listen to

  • http://audiobox.fm Claudio Poli

    Italy is still left behind

  • http://willmontanaro.com/a-superficial-boost-for-french-startups/ A Superficial Boost For French Startups

    […] Europe is reporting that a new fund for startups has just been launched, to the tune of €24m. This is good news for young entrepreneurs in France, […]

  • http://www.gamecreds.com Tim

    Good news :-)

    (loved the psychology students part!)

  • http://philjeudy.com/ Phil Jeudy

    Ok. Cool. Now let’s see.

  • Thomas

    “There is a general anti-business culture and talking about business or money is seen as beneath mainstream society.”

    Butcher, I invite you to travel a bit to see it for yourself before issuing such a comment. And don’t let TC readers form themselves a wrong opinion about the open-mindedness of your own country’s citizen.

    • http://philjeudy.com/ Phil Jeudy

      Don’t worry he does. I mean Travel. And he’s little bit right.

  • Anh-Tuan

    ISF is only the visible part of the iceberg.
    There is the CIR (Case study: I have a PhD, my salary with taxes is 70k€ in 2010, my company will get 140k€ from government in 2011).
    There is also the national innovative start-up competition: my company got 300k€ in 2009.

    As a result, in the first 3 years of existence, my company got more than 500k€ and the founder still get 90% of company shares. Next step, thanks to ISF, the company will raise cheap money… Viva the anti-business culture !

  • Moritz

    we need that public support in Germany, too

  • Paqueuc

    the french government makes efforts indeed. But we still do have a high tax pressure on wages and benefits which is one of the most important in Europe (the second one, if I’m right. To schematize, if you have a net salary of € 2,000, it costs €4,000 to the company). So it may seem “cool” to start a company in France currently but do believe that at the end of the day it is no heaven at all as generally those taxes incentives are only delayed taxes that you have to pay the following years.
    Regarding our “anti-entrepreneur” culture, I agree with Mike and not with Thomas. It’s true and it’s a shame. Only young internet generation think we’re not anymore those kind of guys (hopefully, we’ll change). But mid-age and old generation don’t talk about money, don’t show off, even more if you live outside big cities like Paris or Lyon. If you suceed, you’d better not tell it to everybody as jealousy (typical french) quickly ruins your friendship. In France, we have a saying “live happy, live hidden”. As a french entrepreneur, I’m not seeing my country as a heaven at all and I wish I could live in Switzerland… Where I’d face other problems, it’s obvious.

  • http://www.lastereo.tv Marguerite

    OK I LOVE the commentary about the 65000 psychology students!!! LMFAO
    No seriously… we are a nation of intellectuals… I did philosophy where it all started. Lets not forget!

  • Shaunak

    “Live happy, live hidden.”

    Could someone please post the above phrase in the original French?

    • Paqueuc

      Vivons heureux, vivons cachés.

      You’re welcome.

      • Paqueuc

        It may not be a perfect english translation, I assume. But hopefully, you’ve got the idea.

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