How We United 200 Startups this Holiday Season & How You Could, Too

2 years ago, my teammates from Lima and I had a crazy idea. What if this year we didn’t promote our own product for Christmas, but those of all of our startup friends as well?

That was the beginning of Noël de la French Tech — literally, “Christmas of French Tech” — a non-profit movement to promote French Startups to the general public in France. Now preparing its third edition, it’s been a huge success, putting more than thousands of French Tech gifts under the Christmas tree! 💪

That movement can be replicated anywhere in the world. That’s why we’re launching Startups Celebrate, a toolbox to help you make your own movement.

You can read the background story in Part 1 or go straight to Part 2 to see how to build your own.

Part 1. How “Noel de la French Tech” Was Born

As a startuper, I knew a lot of awesome products that would make great Christmas gifts but I realized my “normal” friends had never heard of them. As the highest commercial season of the year, Christmas time surrounds us with heavy commercials everywhere, promoting whatever brand spends the most.

Startups can’t beat that. Even worse: it seemed people around me thought that what startups were building was for magazines & tradeshows, but not for real people like them.

I have to say that Christmas is a special moment for me. I spend days each year finding the perfect gift for each member of my family & close friends. I think it’s the time of the year where you’re not looking to fulfill your own needs, but to genuinely give and light up someone’s face by the Christmas tree.

So when I found for my then 3-year-old niece a coloring book that transformed into a cartoon from a French startup, I was truly excited. No more insignificant Toys’R’Us toy. We could and would give people the opportunity to make top-notch, innovative, meaningful & awesome gifts. All at once. All we needed was a platform and a voice.

That’s how Le Noël de la French Tech was created, a unique initiative to promote cool products from local startups to the general public.

All startups would join their forces to spread a common message: we’re near you, we’re building great stuff, come and say hi!

The first version of our website was launched only 10 days after we came up with the idea. Thank you Strikingly!

First version of Noël de la French Tech back in 2014 ‘For Christmas, be clever: make gifts from French startups”

It promoted 40 startups and focused on not only giving great gift ideas, but also background stories on the startups. No transactions were made on the website itself: it linked to the startups’ websites when you clicked on the Buy button.

Products were divided into different categories (Kids, Tech, Art, Fashion, etc.) offering a large diversity in terms of product & pricing.

From the very start, it was a success:

  • Startups were very excited to collaborate on a project all together, share tips and tricks and be part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Journalists got excited early on as well as a new angle on the traditional Christmas segment emerged. Entrepreneurship, innovation, original gift ideas, national pride, collaboration. It was the perfect story & it clicked right away.
  • And the public as well! 250K unique visitors that were spending an average of 7 minutes on the website. People were sharing and loving… and buying great gifts from French startups!

Fast forward a few years and we’re now preparing our third edition of Noël de la French Tech. More than 460 startups applied this year and we carefully handpicked the best 200. Thousands and thousands of French startup gifts were put under the Christmas tree over the past 2 years and we plan to multiply that digit this year.

We’ve been in 250 press outlets and we plan to go even further this year on every level, including in the physical world.

But let’s stop talking about us, and start talking about you. I want you to think about what you could do too.

Part 2. How to Build Your Own Movement

“Noël de la French Tech” has been (and still is) an amazing experience for us & I want to give you the tools to replicate it wherever you are — hopefully saving you tons of time.

Our initiative has already started spreading around the world with Nordic Startup Gifts (big up Flic) or New York Hearts Tech (big up Adore Me).

This year, Singaporean and Spanish startups are already working on their own editions.

So why don’t we go a step further and turn this into a movement: the Startups Celebrate movement.

The idea is pretty basic…

Choose a celebration, gather a pool of local startups, leverage your forces to reach a maximum number of people & create a bridge between startups and the general public in your community.

It doesn’t have to be for Christmas: our friends from Spain are preparing something for the Three Wise Men Day, which is when people make gifts in their country. It doesn’t have to be national. It has to be startups, linked to a community, and around a celebration.

Now you might wonder what that will bring you. It will probably bring you stress & long hours of work in the night… but also incredible moments, friendships, top-notch networking, unexpected opportunities, and a ton of fun.

I’ll stress that even if it does bring a lot of business to startups if it’s a success, don’t do it if you’re in a pure ROI approach: you will probably be disappointed. Do it if you want to try new things, get out of your comfort zone & you believe it’s a good cause.

Are you the right person to organize this in your community? If you’re an advocate for startups and ready to lose some sleep for the sake of innovation, then oh yes, you are.

You’re convinced and ready to start your own Startups Celebrate event?

I’ve compiled everything you need to know based on our 3-year experience with Noël de la French Tech.

I have no idea if this will lead to anything, but I believe startups are worth the try 😃 I’m not asking for anything in return: it’s a great idea that I’d love as many people as possible to embrace. To join the movement, you just need to keep the same spirit: community-based & non-profit.

And remember: it’s never too late. We started our first year on November 20 for a website launch on December 1st.

Don’t hesitate to ping me for help or to let me know what you’re building so that I can update the list:

Startup Celebrate Movements

✅ 🇫🇷 Noël de la French Tech
✅ 🇺🇸 New Yorks Hearts Tech
✅ 🇪🇸 Los Reyes de las startups
✅ 🇸🇪 🇳🇴 🇫🇮 🇩🇰 Nordic Startup Gifts

✅ 🇸🇬WIP

❌ Still waiting to be started: 🇦🇪🇦🇫🇦🇷🇦🇹🇦🇺🇦🇽 🇧🇪🇧🇫🇧🇬🇧🇴🇧🇷🇨🇦🇨🇭🇨🇱🇨🇳🇩🇪🇬🇧, etc, etc.

Is your country next?
Like the idea? Want to make your own? Don’t hesitate to reach out.