Recap of the GFA Startup Learning Expedition 2024 in Paris

The GFA’s Startup Learning Expedition in Paris and visit of VivaTechnology on May 21-25, 2024 were a tremendous success, filled with insightful sessions, impactful networking opportunities, and engaging discussions. Here is a detailed recap of the eventful week:

Day 1: Immersion at STATION F
Our week began with an enriching visit to STATION F, the world’s largest startup campus. The day was marked by informative sessions from notable speakers including Theresa Marschner (AHK), Jeanne Andrade and Heïdi Sen (bpifrance), Olivier Allegret (Choose Paris Region), as well as Christoph Schödel and Jean-François Davené (Klein-Wenner). They provided a comprehensive overview of the French market, the startup ecosystem and how to mount your business in France. One of the highlights was an engaging networking session where participants connected with our industry partners such as Weronika Spiewak (3DS), Stéphanie Kermarrec (Software République), and Amina Boubendir (Airbus), as well as venture capitalists such as Vincent Leruth (Industrya). Fostering valuable relationships and exchanging innovative ideas we ended the evening with a very French visit at a wine bar nearby.

Day 2: VivaTechnology begins
Wednesday marked the commencement of VivaTechnology, Europe’s biggest startup and tech fair. Our delegation had the honor of engaging with several distinguished personalities such as Ambassador Stephan Steinlein, Bavarian Minister of Digital Affairs Dr. Fabian Mehring, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy Tobias Gotthardt. These discussions underscored the collaborative spirit between Germany and France in the tech domain.
Two of our German startups presented their work at our booth and pitched on stage.
A big highlight on Wednesday was the roundtable about Bavarians role in the European Digital Ecosystem, organized by our dear colleague Diane Baumer (GFA/TUM). It featured Nicole Ebner (TUM), Dr. Fabian Mehring (Bavarian Minister of Digital Affairs), and Fabian Beringer (Stealth AI Startup). This session provided deep insights into the Bavarian digital landscape, illustrating the synergy between academia, politics, and the startup scene. The conversation highlighted the crucial role of this triumvirate in driving digital innovation and growth.

Day 3: European Digital Sovereignty Roundtable
On Thursday, we organized another significant roundtable, focusing on European Digital Sovereignty. Esteemed speakers included Yannick Deroche and Olivier Lagarde (Airbus Defense and Space), Felix Schuster (Edgeless Systems), and Anne-Sophie Taillandier (TeraLab, Gaia X). The discussion delved into the importance of digital sovereignty for Europe and the strategies to achieve it, emphasizing collaborative efforts and technological advancements. The next three startups from Munich presented themselves at our booth and on stage at the French-German TechLab on Thursday and Friday.

Days 4 and 5: VivaTechnology Networking**
The week concluded with a vibrant atmosphere on Friday and Saturday as startups had the opportunity to fully experience VivaTechnology. These days were dedicated to one-on-one appointments and networking sessions, allowing startups to mingle, forge partnerships, and explore new business opportunities within the dynamic environment of the tech fair.

The GFA’s organization of the Startup Learning Expedition and the participation at VivaTechnology has undeniably enriched the knowledge and connections of all involved, furthering the collaborative efforts between the German and French tech ecosystems.