France woos the startups
France is doing its best to attract startups, including fledgling fintechs.
Recent changes to the country’s stock option scheme is making it, say observers, one of the most friendly in Europe towards startups.
What’s more, a new index has been launched by La French Tech. The new French Tech 120 lists the country’s top growth stage companies and most importantly, these will be supported by the French Government in a drive to make them become major players on the global scene.
According to dealroom.co, France is Europe's fastest-growing top-tier startup ecosystem.
They measure this by relative growth in the number of unicorns, future unicorns and number of rounds. Venture capital investment in 2019 has just exceeded €5bn, which is a new record (€1.6bn). Also last year, six new unicorns emerged: Dataiku, Doctolib, eFront, ivalua, Kyriba and Meero. And to mark the new year, Qonto had the honour of becoming the latest French unicorn.
Contrast all this French news with worries in the UK that the Treasury is possibly setting its sights on entrepreneurs’ relief. Estimates suggest that this particular tax break has saved company owners over £2.4bn in 2018 by cutting their tax bills on the sale of their ventures.
The UK Government has for some time now had a positive attitude towards encouraging entrepreneurs and early stage investors. Tax schemes such as EIS and SEIS have been the envy of many throughout Europe, and beyond. But, those in the UK investment industry are becoming increasingly concerned that things are about to change, and that the tax breaks which have done so much to encourage early stage businesses, might begin to be eroded.