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Introduction to Bordeaux Startup Ecosystem
Located in the southwest, Bordeaux is the 9th city of France with more than 240 000 inhabitants, and the 2nd in terms of economic attractiveness (right after the city of Lyon). Used to be called “La belle endormie” (the beautiful asleep) as it was a very quiet and peaceful city in the south west of France, Bordeaux recent move towards the digital economy has taken the city to a whole new level. In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Bordeaux ranked 4th in France and 209th globally.
For many years Bordeaux’s economy was leaning on the wine industry as Bordeaux hosts most of the best French vineyards. But since 2000 things have moved fast, especially on the tech and startup scenes. Many accelerators and coworking places have been created to boost and help new entrepreneurs. Besides, in 2013, the French Government launched LaFrenchTech, which helped regroup the entrepreneurial eco-system and led to various new initiatives.
Bordelais entrepreneurs are willing to transform Bordeaux to make it one of the most attractive cities for innovation.
Bordeaux success Stories
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Bordeaux great startups:
- Argolight is a startup specialized in fluorescence for biosciences. It is a leader in the niche market and works with clients like Tha Nasa.
- Azendoo is a collaborative work application. The startup has raised 2.5 millions $ in total and has concluded great partnerships with Evernote and Microsoft.
- Hello Asso is the first startup dedicated to online money collection for French NPOs. More than 16000 NPOs have joined Hello Asso and raised 23 million, thanks to the platform.
- Loisir Enchère is a French platform for leisure actions. The startup is one of the leaders in the French leisure economy
- Yummypets is the 1st social petwork for pet owners. The startup has raised 1.5 million euros and has more than 200 000 users.
- NewsRepublic leverages editorial, algorithmic and community intelligence to offer the sharpest and widest perspective on the world. The startups have raised more 10.3 million € and about 12 million people consult the application every week.
And they are much more successful startup in Bordeaux. You can find the complete list here.
Advantages for startups in Bordeaux
The location: Located at only 3h from Paris (2h by the end of 2017), Bordeaux is an attractive city for startups. A large and growing number of co-working spaces, accelerators, incubators, and entrepreneurship programs provide the infrastructure needed to develop great startups. The cost of living in Bordeaux is 28% lower than in Paris, so the city has rapidly become a favorable business location. Establishing a startup in Bordeaux is quite cheap and you can find talents as many great schools are located in Bordeaux and many students are willing to leave Paris to settle in Bordeaux.
Entrepreneurial eco-system: The Bordeaux startup scene is very diverse, as you can find technologies from wine startups to hardware or fintech. Most of Bordeaux entrepreneurs have regrouped under one association called Bordeaux Entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and network. This great energy makes Bordeaux a welcoming city where you can easily find advice and support to launch your new business.
Political will: Public institutions in Bordeaux are very active in terms of promoting inward investment to Bordeaux and the Gironde. Besides, public financial support is available in the region helping new entrepreneurs develop their business.
Disadvantages for startups in Bordeaux
Despite a great and affordable environment, Bordeaux lacks investment firms and business angels. Even if the situation is moving forward Bordeaux pays the price for its lateness (like many other French cities), as most of the startups need to go to Paris to find investments.
Besides, the French economy is still a very centralized economy in which everything happens in Paris. The country Capital is also the Economic Capital and most of French and international enterprises have their headquarters in Paris. So when it comes to making business partnerships, startups have to move often to Paris.
Biggest players in Bordeaux startup ecosystem
Hemera: Mentoring, Network, Education, and Capital to help entrepreneurs change the world. This new accelerator was founded in 2015 by 5 Bordelaise entrepreneurs.
Le Campement: Incubator for all kind of projects which value sustainable employment. Located in Darwin, this incubator hosts and supports more than 10 startups.
Bordeaux Unitec: Science and Technology park to boost technological innovation and economic development.
Technowest: Science and Technology park to boost technological innovation in the aeronautic sector.
Information about startups’ events in Bordeaux:
Startup Digest: Newsletter about all the events about startups located in Bordeaux.
French Tech Newsletter: In this newsletter, you will find all the information you need about the Bordelese startup ecosystem.
Bordeaux Startup associations:
Bordeaux Entrepreneurs: Association for entrepreneurs. This association created the new accelerator, Hemera. If you’re a new entrepreneur in Bordeaux, come and meet them to get all the information you need about Bordeaux.
Aquinum: Association of all the people working in the digital and numeric economy. The association also proposes a co-working place at the heart of Bordeaux, Le Node, where you can rent an office, attend events and meet all the people from the digital ecosystem.
Darwin: located on the Rive Droite, this wonderful place is a great place to meet entrepreneurs from the social and sustainable development economy. You can rent an office for your team and have access to many services.
Le Node: Located at the very center of Bordeaux, this co-working place is for freelancers. You can rent a desk for a few days or weeks. Plus, you will have access to many events and meet a lot of people from the digital Bordelaise ecosystem.
Resources to know more about Bordeaux
Bordeaux startups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/623846301082118/
Bordeaux entrepreneurs: https://www.facebook.com/Bordeaux-Entrepreneurs-289894044676063/?fref=ts
La FrenchTech Bordeaux: http://www.frenchtechbordeaux.com/
Aquinum : https://aquinum.fr/
About the author:
Fred Castagnac is Azendoo CMO, the Bordeaux Startup Digest Curator and a mentor for Google Launchpads. She’s 100% made in the southwest as she grew up in Pau, studied in Toulouse, launched her first company in Bayonne and now works as a CMO in Bordeaux.
After a Bachelor in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Political Sciences, she chose the entrepreneurial path to create and build.