Unprecedented Visibility for La French Tech at SXSW 2016
South by Southwest, one of the most important events at the intersection of tech and culture, welcomed a strong French presence in 2016. For the third consecutive year, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Business France, La French Tech, and Bureau Export, with support from Institut français—Paris, highlighted French creativity by bringing French startups across the Atlantic to network and showcase their products among an international group of tech enthusiasts and professionals.
Three main France-related initiatives took place: French Tech Day (broken into a French Tech Café, Demo, Lunch, and Party) on March 15, French Tech Innovation Square at the heart of the trade show (March 13-16) and concerts by French artists (March 15 and 17). Hundreds of guests participated the events, attended concerts, and met the 20 French startups and companies present.
Eighty SXSW-goers attended the French Tech Café, which brought together French and Texan entrepreneurs and tech professionals for a panel discussion comparing the ecosystems in Austin and France. Among incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurs present were Capital Factory (represented by Fred Schmidt and Ali Syed), Tech Ranch (Kevin Koym), International Accelerator (Angelos Angelou), Eclectik Group Inc (Thierry Daupin), the Austin Chamber of Commerce (Michele Skelding, VP of Technology and Innovation), NUMA, Paris (Roman Navalpotro), Orange Digital Ventures (Grégoire de Padirac), and the Conseil National du Numérique (Yann Bonnet).
Later in the day, a three-hour-long French Tech Lunch welcomed over 1,300 professionals for a giant BBQ in Brush Square, an open space at the heart of the festivities. High-level professionals from Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Deezer, Pandora, The New York Times, HBO, Apple, and other prominent companies attended the event. Vivendi Village, Devialet, and Bandsintown, three prominent French companies that have successfully expanded internationally, shared their success stories and secrets on expanding in the US. Vivendi Village, represented by Chief Marketing Officer Lucien Boyer, participated in the event, as did Devialet, represented by director of sales Alexandre Panizzoli. Fabrice Sergent, CEO of Bandsintown, also presented his app, which is the most-used concert-finding app in the US. A speedy pitch session gave spectators a glimpse of a dozen French startups—including Happn, Vodkaster, Qwant, Reminiz, and Klaxoon—through one-minute-long presentations. A concert by Fakear, the young French electronic music prodigy, and Talisco, the rising star of electro-folk, closed the lunch.
The French Tech Party gave audiences a look inside the diverse French music scene. The young French singer star Marina Kay performed, as did pop-soul duo Joon Moon, the folk rock group Hooka Hey, Alice on the Roof, Fakear and Talisco.
Beyond the French Tech Day, French startups were also present at French Tech Innovation Square, within the SXSW trade show. Open from March 13th through 16th, the stand highlighted 15 cutting-edge French startups. A French Tech Demo that took place during French Tech Day at the Square let visitors interact directly with startups present there, including 4D Views, Afrostream, Fretbay, Holi, Klaxoon, Lucie Labs (intelligent lights), Prynt (which lets users print directly from their phones), Qwant, Reminiz, Smart&Blue, Vodkaster, Voxeet, WB Technologies, Wize&Ope (LED-lit shoes) and Wynd. Also at the French Tech Innovation Square were presentations of theLiving Mona Lisa, an animated painting conceived by Florent Aziosmanoff, and Phantom Implosive Sound speakers by Devialet.
Also during SXSW this year, several concerts presented by Bureau Export featured musicians such as Marina Kaye, Cocorosie, L.E.J., Scarecrow, Lys, and Indolore and welcomed a diverse audience of spectators.