Chambers With A View

Vive La France: Key Takeaways from VivaTech 2024

I’ve been involved in the annual VivaTech conference in Paris since its inception in 2016, and it continues to be one of my favorite global events to attend each year. This year’s event, which attracted 165,000 attendees – surpassing the notable Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – was not only the biggest by far, but it was also the most successful to date. Credit goes to the conference organizers, including my good friend Maurice Levy, as well as President Emmanuel Macron’s strong support for the tech sector and entrepreneurship in France. The excitement in Paris was so profound that I felt compelled to write a follow-up to my earlier VivaTech column.

I’m thrilled to see France leading Europe in AI development and implementation. According to the French government, the country now has more than 600 AI startups, and of these, 50% are profitable or envision that they will be in the next three years. Some €3.2 billion was raised by AI startups in France in 2022 alone. What’s more, AI talent that previously moved abroad to work for the largest tech firms in the U.S. are now returning to France to launch their own companies. Two great examples: Mistral AI, valued at €6 billion after only its series B round, and H, which just raised a €205 million seed financing round that includes European, U.S. and Asian investors, as well as the French government.

It’s incredible progress, but we can’t stop here – France needs to keep driving AI growth and the rest of Europe can’t afford to fall further behind. In Q1 of this year, only 12% of Europe’s startup investment dollars went to AI. Knowing you either disrupt or get disrupted, that figure is concerning. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the number was 38% (and I am honestly surprised it wasn’t higher).

Paying subscribers get full access to former Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers’ exclusive columns for The Innovator.

Click here to sign up for a free four-week trial.

About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.