First impressions (or: Initial queries)
This week, we visited Le Camping’s startup accelerator program (organized by Silicon Sentier). What struck me most about our conversation with Aviva was a lack of apparent concern regarding talent attrition (and concurrent laissez faire attitude w/r/t talent retention) in Paris. Maybe in France as a whole, too, although I cannot personally attest to that extrapolation. Why?
The city’s size? (Population: 2.2m, with the metro area harboring over 12m.) When a city is bursting at its seams with entrepreneurs and young professionals, is it [financially/spatially] necessary to usher some individuals and their startups elsewhere? Is there a maximum capacity for local/viable businesses? (i.e. Is metro-capacity an economic zero sum game?) When services and/or goods are offered online, should it figure into this sum?
The ability of a city or state to tax these businesses should be enough incentive for the government to desire their continued presence within the area. Of course, the tax-climate of France (the far Left’s response) may be a disincentive for the entrepreneurs… But why would the city willingly (almost eagerly) help usher them out the door? Sure, international recognition is boon to any startup scene. And, yes, American investors may be more inclined to support a business based in the US. And it does seem admirable that Paris would be so accommodating to their homegrown startups. In fact, it feels so admirable that there must be a catch. (Here’s Wired’s look at the Parisian VC and startup ecosystem.)
Some benefit (not merely abstract, but tangible) must lay beneath this seemingly carefree attitude. What’s best for the startups (such as moving their operations abroad) is not always aligned with what’s best for the city, can it?