As you know by now, I spent the day with Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures yesterday -- BPR, Chausson Finance, Altaide and Open Coffee Paris all helped get 16 French start-ups in a room to present to Fred. A few photos of the day here.
After reading Fred's post and thinking more about the conversation that unfolded over the day, I come away with this: French entrepreneurs are heros, plain and simple. In the US, entrepreneurs are lauded. Here, they are looked upon as erratic, people who are insane not to take the safe route. Sure, Lucie-Anne and I are entrepreneurs, too, but we're American, and in France, that pretty much excuses us. Also, I come from a family of entrepreneurs: I am the third generation. My father's reaction was "What took you so long?"
When I look at the hurdles that these people have to overcome: the ridiculous laws, the lack of resources, the lack of a vibrant community to support them (though we are actively working on changing that!), and finally, the overwhelming, crushing sense that as an entrepreneur, you are doing something odd or outright subversive, well, you can see why these guys are my heros.
On a different note: huge thanks to Phil Jeudy, Louis van Proosdij Duport, Jacques Froissant, Raphael Labbe, Marc Brandsma and especially my trusty sidekick and partner in crime Ken Newcomer for all the help in organizing. See you at the Pont Party!