The French Resurgence at CES 2017 | Summary and Q&A

January 6, 2017
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The French Resurgence at CES 2017

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This video features a discussion about French hardware startups and the reasons behind their success. The guests discuss topics such as government support, marketing challenges, hiring foreign talent, manufacturing decisions, and trends in the industry.

Questions & Answers

Q: Have you seen a big change in French hardware startups since you became France's digital minister?

Entrepreneurship has become highly valued in France, with many young people wanting to start their own companies. The government supports this trend as it believes startups create economic value and jobs for the future. It is a positive cultural shift that empowers young people to build their own future.

Q: As a French company, was it difficult to market your speaker in the US with so many powerful American and Asian brands?

When the company started, it aimed to be a global company rather than just a French actor. It focused on selling its products in the US, Japan, and the UK before France. Building a brand globally, especially in a huge country like the US, is a challenging task. However, the company is opening stores and has partnerships with Apple, which has helped in gaining recognition in the US market.

Q: Some journalists call you the Nest of France. How do you feel about that position?

France has a strong position in hardware startups, with talented designers, mechanical engineers, electricians, and embedded software experts. The country has the necessary skill sets and know-how to develop high-quality products. French engineers have been sought after by companies in Silicon Valley for years, and now they have the opportunity to work for global companies based in Paris.

Q: With the rise of anti-immigration movements globally, could it impact French startups' ability to hire foreign engineers and entrepreneurs?

The ability to hire talented individuals, both domestic and foreign, is crucial for startups. The French government has implemented programs to attract foreign talents, such as the French Tech Ticket and the Talent Passport. These initiatives have been successful, with many applications from various nationalities. While there may be pressures to close borders, it is essential to maintain openness and attract innovative individuals to support the startup ecosystem.

Q: Does bureaucratic issues make it harder to hire foreigners in France?

The panelists believe that French startups have always been open to hiring foreign talent. They state that the complexity of the process has not changed significantly over the years. The tech industry relies on foreign talents, and it is unlikely that things will change in the future.

Q: Does the availability of skilled engineers contribute to the success of French hardware startups?

The presence of French engineering schools and the country's general education in math, robotics, and computer science provide a solid foundation for hardware startups. France has a long history in engineering, and its skilled engineers contribute to the success of the hardware industry.

Q: How do you decide where to manufacture your products?

The decision on manufacturing location depends on several factors such as required skill sets, supply chain availability, and tools. The company weighs these factors and makes a reasoned decision on where to manufacture a particular product. For example, some products are manufactured in France, while others are made in China or Italy.

Q: What are some of the favorite startups and trends at CES?

The panelists mention various startups and trends, including Boom Lab, BlaBlaCar, AI, computer vision, IoT, autonomous cars, and cybersecurity. The growth of artificial intelligence in various industries is especially highlighted, with France having a notable community of AI researchers and practitioners.

Q: Has the French Tech initiative been successful in supporting startups?

The panelists consider the French Tech initiative a success. It has led to a significant increase in the number of startups and capital investments in French startups. The government's support and legislative changes have created a positive environment for entrepreneurs, making France a top European nation for startups.

Q: Has French Tech changed the image and perception of entrepreneurs in France?

The perception of entrepreneurs has changed positively in France over the years. The French government's initiatives, including French Tech, have played a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. Being an entrepreneur has become trendy and culturally appreciated, reflecting the French people's passion for innovation and disruption.

Q: If you had to start a company tomorrow, would you start it in France or elsewhere?

The panelists express their preference for starting a company in France, particularly in Paris. They cite the availability of talent, the creative environment, and the overall appeal of living and working in Paris as reasons for choosing France.


The French government's support for startups has had a positive impact on the country's hardware ecosystem. France has seen a cultural shift where entrepreneurship is highly valued and supported. The availability of skilled engineers and the ability to hire foreign talent has contributed to the success of French hardware startups. The French Tech initiative, along with legislative changes, has created an environment conducive to innovation and attracted capital investments. The growth of artificial intelligence and the importance of global collaboration in the startup ecosystem are significant trends. However, there may be challenges ahead due to political pressures and the potential closure of borders. Overall, France is emerging as a major player in the global startup scene, particularly in hardware startups.

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