Categories Digital Transformation

From Startups to Scale-ups

Maxime Baffert - VivaTech

How to create scale-ups in Europe? What should Europe do to foster a promising technology ecosystem? How to evolve the blossoming startup ecosystem in France to one of Scale-ups? Which current startup stands the highest change of turning into a scale-up ? Why is it that Europe has, so far, failed to generate numerous unicorns while Silicon Valley—a small area of only 2.7 million people—is home to over 200? And why is it that China, still a developing economy with an emerging middle class, has been giving birth to more than a dozen unicorns in the last 5 years?

Number of Unicorns by Country – The Visual Capitalist

The European innovation ecosystem is blossoming but still lacking in scale-ups

However, Europe has only produced 40 despite standing as the largest single market in the world, having the wealthiest middle-class and counting many Fortune 500 companies. Yet, it appears unable to harness the upcoming digital revolution. Why is it that Europe is sidelined from this unfolding technological revolution? And what can it do they foster successful startups? These are some of the topics that Managing Director of VivaTech, Maxime Baffert and I, covered during a recent conversation.

To be fair, I’ve discussed this on several occasions with the founder of JEDI, the head of Orange’s Technocenter and leading VCs. Plus, I published a book on how to turn France into the Silicon Valley by 2030.

Maurice Levy – Publicis – Les Echos

VivaTech wants to the develop the scale-up ecosystem in Europe

The largest innovation event in Europe, VivaTech, is also looking into this topic. Pioneered by former CEO of Publicis, Maurice Levy VivaTech is organizing a challenge bringing together Europe’s most promising scale-ups to recognize those that seem most likely to become unicorns. Contenders come from Accel’s global network. Accel is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Accel works with startups in seed, early and growth-stage investments. The firm has offices in Palo Alto, California and San Francisco, California, with additional operating funds in London, India and China (through a partnership with International Data Group (IDG-Accel)).

VivaTech – The largest innovation event in Europe

Accel has funded technology companies including Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, Atlassian, Flipkart, Supercell, Spotify, Etsy, Braintree/Venmo, Vox Media,, Qualtrics, DJI, Cloudera,, GoFundMe, Vectra Networks Inc. FabHotels, BrowserStack and Instana.

VivaTech is organizing an award to spot future scale-ups

Maxime informed me that five awards should be granted in different areas:

  • B2B enterprise
  • B2B small business
  • B2C
  • Tech for Good
  • Deep tech

The jury will be looking at five different criteria including innovation, leadership, scale-up potential, potential impact, and impact on business and/or society.

Winners should enjoy strong visibility within the vivid take event which welcomes over 100,000 attendees, lavish press coverage especially from French economic newspaper Les Echos and the Wall Street Journal. They may also enjoy press coverage from the events media partners. But, winning scale ups will also get the opportunity to network with senior leaders and Fortune 500 companies partnering up with Vivatech. Finally, they should also get to meet with decision makers and leading venture capitalist including Accel.


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