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Key Conference Beckons As Paris Competes To Become Europe's AI Capital

Key Conference Beckons As Paris Competes To Become Europe's AI Capital
In an effort to solidify Paris' status as a centre for artificial intelligence, France will welcome tech leaders and political officials this week, including former US Secretary of State John Kerry, EU Industry Chief Thierry Breton, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
French inventors will take centre stage at the "Viva Technology" conference as delegates discuss important issues pertaining to artificial intelligence (AI), such as how it can affect future elections and climate change.

The greatest luxury firm in the world, LVMH, located in Paris, has also supported VivaTech by becoming a founding partner of the event.

One of the richest people in the planet, Bernard Arnault, is the company's chairman and CEO. He is anticipated to lure large crowds to the group's expansive exhibit, which showcases the newest technology from luxury labels like Dior, Tag Heuer, and Louis Vuitton.

In an effort to draw in fresh company launches, France has spent the last 18 months trying to establish itself as a pioneer in generative AI, the technology underlying OpenAI's ChatGPT and related products.

President Emmanuel Macron is working to resurrect EU plans to further integrate capital markets throughout the continent, and he has attracted investments from large American tech corporations like as Amazon and Microsoft. He thinks it will contribute to raising the money required to support nascent AI businesses.

According to the organisers, Paris' reputation as the world's centre of luxury might also draw in technological investment.

"Innovation and luxury are inextricably linked, as the goal is to offer something that no one else can," stated Francois Bitouzet, managing director of VivaTech, who attributed France's expansion to Britain's decision to leave the EU.
In terms of digital investment, Paris has come in second only to London, although Bitouzet said that there are indications of improvement.

"The ecosystem in Paris is very dynamic, and there has been a lot of investment here in the past few years," he stated.

According to a recent analysis from venture capital firm Atomico, investors poured nearly to $8 billion into French digital startups in 2023, trailing only Britain ($13 billion) but ahead of third-place Germany ($7 billion).

Paris may not instantly threaten London for the top rank, but digital companies are emerging in France more quickly than any other region in Europe. According to Atomico, about 3,000 firms were formed in France in 2023.

During the same time span, a comparable number established themselves in Britain; but, since 2020, the annual number of new businesses established there has been declining.

Paris-based firms have raised some of the most valuable financing rounds in the 18 months since ChatGPT ignited the
generative AI boom.

Former researchers at industry heavyweights like Google DeepMind launched some of the most talked-about startups in Paris, including Mistral AI and Holistic AI.

Julien Launay left Hugging Face, a well-known French-American AI company, in September of last year to create his own business, Adaptive ML. The company employs people in Paris and New York and assists other businesses in creating their own generative AI tools.

Less than six months later, the business received $20 million in a round headed by San Francisco-based Index Ventures and California-based ICONIQ Capital.

"ICONIQ and Index were the two major investors, but if you look at the smaller ones we tried to get a lot of French backers on board because we thought that was a good move," Launay said. "France has a lot of talent, and a lot of startups but in terms of funds, there's still quite a bit less than the U.S."

Historically, it has been challenging for European companies to secure the substantial sums of money needed from regional investors. Even while the EU provides a sizable single market for goods and services, the capital markets across all 27 member states are complicated by disparate securities legislation, taxation, and accounting practices, which raises compliance costs and reduces market liquidity.

"The most important thing is that these companies get funding, said Hannah Seal, partner at Index. "What is important is that these companies feel like they can continue to find and recruit the talent to build giants in Europe and we see that is increasingly the case."


Christopher J. Mitchell

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