La (French) FinTech Connection

By: Jean-Michel Pailhon

Over the last year, FinTech gained media visibility partly given the funding success of some of its most pre-eminent representatives, either through successful IPOs. Among all those new champions of financial services that successfully raised hundreds millions of dollars, and sometime called ‘FinTech unicorns’, a majority of US and UK companies, some Scandinavian, one Dutch, but not a single French one.

Are French entrepreneurs bad at creating successful FinTech companies? Renaud Laplanche (CEO/founder of Lending Club), Stephane Dubois (CEO/founder of Xignite), Philippe Gelis (Kantox) or even David Marcus (head of Messaging Products at Facebook, which recently entered the mobile payment battle with its Facebook Messenger’s new money transfer feature) were all born in France.

Unfortunately (for France) and luckily (for the US, and the rest of the world), they have all migrate elsewhere (mainly to the US) to create their successful venture. Would have they been less successful if they’d decided to stay in/come back to France to launch their FinTech project? Probably.

What happened in the past, is the past. The question is: do the newly emerging French born FinTech entrepreneurs have to migrate out of France to succeed in 2015? If your initial thought was ‘same player, shoot again’, it might be time to reconsider your position.

First of all France is widely known for the quality of its Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science schools.

Secondly, France has become a very favorable country for entrepreneurs and investors.

Thirdly, France has been rather quick to adapt to the “new deal of FinTech” from a regulatory and legislative standpoint.

Last, France is a country of 67 million people, showing a massive potential for innovative financialservices, whether supplied by domestic or international ventures.

All in all France has some strengths to build on when dealing with FinTech. And neither entrepreneurs nor investors should skip France from their radar screen. Who knows, the Lending Club of 2020 could well be founded by a French guy, in France?

Editors Notes: This entry has been submitted to the FINTECH Book, the world’s 1st globally crowd-sourced book on FINTECH. Readers that enjoyed this initial abstract are invited to share and like it so that it may be featured in a longer version.

The FINTECH Book is due to be released in April 2016 and is available for Pre-Order on Amazon.