La French Tech, France’s government-backed startup ecosystem initiative, has launched in Johannesburg after a successful implementation in Cape Town.
Disrupt Africa reported in February 2016 Cape Town was selected as a new La French Tech Hub, becoming the sixth city globally to join the programme after Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Tel-Aviv and Tokyo.
Since then the initiative, which was launched by the French government in 2013 to improve the visibility of its entrepreneurs at home and abroad and to enhance the development of coherent startup ecosystems, has expanded to more than 50 cities around the world, and Johannesburg has now become the latest addition.
The new combined French Tech Cape Town-Johannesburg community comes after an active few years in South Africa, which included the launch of the French South African Tech Labs accelerator with investment from Methys and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda). The development of the French Tech community in Johannesburg will provide combined support from the French corporate and investor community, and will mean more investment from French tech companies in the South African digital economy.
“With a mindset of very strong cooperation with local ecosystems such as Silicon Cape and a public-private partnership approach, French Tech Cape Town has, in just three years, seeded half a dozen technology startups, with a combined turnover of more than ZAR100 million (US$6.7 million) and over 300 jobs, developed a partnership with Seda, and Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to deploy over ZAR10 million (US$670,000) in support of primarily underprivileged entrepreneurs in the Cape Town area,” said Methys chief executive officer (CEO) Christophe Viarnaud.
“With AfricArena, we have created the largest pan-African tech investor event making South Africa a leader in attracting international investors, and connected it with European major tech events such as VivaTech and Hello Tomorrow. We look forward to accelerate this impact in Johannesburg and Gauteng with many projects on the horizon.”