Digital Economy Mar 16, 2017

FrenchTech goes Bavaria: twelve French start-ups discover new opportunities

From 21 to 23 February 2017, we welcomed together with the German-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry 12 selected French high-tech start-ups in Munich, to meet start-ups located in Bavaria and large industry groups as well as key players for their development in Germany.

French start-ups start internationalisation at a very early stage in their development. Many of them turn to Silicon Valley, but not all of them. Germany, neighbouring country and France’s main business partner and the top industrial force in Europe, which makes it, in effect, a choice destination for start-ups.

With more than 30% of its GDP derived from industry, Germany is an admittedly ambitious market, but it has serious assets for start-ups. At first glance, it appears that the language barrier and intercultural differences have the ability to slow start-ups down; however, they do not need to be setbacks. One simply needs to be prepared. This is the basis of a quality product or service and this provides a real value added to the contacts from the other side of the Rhine.

Over three days, the French start-ups discovered the dynamic start-up ecosystem in Bavaria and learned about the economic web in Bavaria, designated by three large groups, the “Mittelstand” [medium-sized companies] and the SMES of the various industrial sectors, such as the automotive industry, engineering, electronics, the medical field, etc. All of them also locally encountered the key players and informed themselves about every aspect related to setting up in Germany.

It was a jam-packed and diverse programme:

  • Welcome from Invest in Bavaria, the economic promotion agency of the Free State of Bavaria, which offers foreign businesses a free service for getting set up in Bavaria (including providing information, researching locations and networking with dominant local players) and the French Consulate General in Munich.
  • Flixbus, a European success story made in Munich, returned from its conquest of the European market from 2015 to 2017. There were very ambitious goals from the start and a rapid internationalisation of its services with a strong vision: starting out with an old mode of transport and not just modernising it, but genuinely creating the mobility of tomorrow for millions of Europeans.
  • Sigfox, an major French start-up in the sector of connected objects, which was established close to Munich and shared valuable tips with regard to team management at a French start-up in Germany, the different intercultural approaches regarding collective decision-making and interaction with German clients.
  • Exchanges regarding the legal and financial aspects in Germany and recruitment in Bavaria, saving technical profiles is very important but there are few candidates on the market due to an unemployment rate of 3.3% in Bavaria!
  • The start-ups also had the chance to present their innovative technologies to teams from Siemens Global Alliance and Atos, which, after Airbus, is the most important French-German industrial co-operation, at the Atos Business Technology & Innovation Center in Munich. As a part of their “Journey 2020”, we had the chance to discuss the technological revolution and upcoming key sectors in industry 4.0 with Avos.
  • Ventech, a French investment fund mainly present in Germany that has notably accomplished start-ups such as Withings, presented the structure of the market and the investments in Germany.
  • Serviceplan, a premier independent European communications group, also talked about its headquarters in Munich and presented the major trends and communications issues in the digital era to us. Our start-uppers then had the ability to test all of the innovations installed at Serviceplan (virtual reality applications, augmented reality, etc.), some of which had been realised in close co-operation with start-ups.
  • Finally, BMW opened its doors of its very impressive production site in Munich, with state-of-the-art technology and which is amongst the most modern in Europe.

    Summary of the trip: “Bavaria is the place to be for start-ups in B2B.”

    Here are some impressions in the form of Tweets:


    If you are a start-up in one of the following sectors and envision establishing a local presence to develop the German market, either over the short or long term, contact us for a chat: digital data, the factory of the future / industry 4.0, connected objects, cybersecurity, smart mobility, e-health, financial technology / insurance technology...

    The photos from the event are available in our media library.

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