Rebecca Wayman

Despite Brexit, these London startups are making waves in Paris

Twelve of London’s fastest-growing tech companies are today (October 23) boarding the Eurostar to Paris with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in order to explore opportunities for international expansion in the French market.

The trade mission - led by the Mayor’s International Business Programme - is part of the Mayor’s plans to strengthen trade and investment links between London and Paris.

The visit to Paris follows a similar trade mission earlier this year when Sadiq joined the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to launch a new city-to-city partnership, the Paris-London Business Welcome Programme, focussed on establishing a global network of cities to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses across different markets.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London and Paris are both leading centres for business built on strong foundations of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I am delighted to be joined by so many innovative companies from my International Business Programme on this visit as they look to explore opportunities for investment and international expansion.”

The programme includes assistance with company setup, access to coworking space, introduction to the local tech ecosystem and networking, and discounted accommodation.

The trade mission is supported by KPMG and Eurostar, and the scale-ups will take part in an on board mentoring programme as they travel between the two capital cities. Eurostar is also offering a special fare to businesses setting up in Eurostar destinations, making it easier for them to make connections across Europe.

Businesses travelling on the trade mission include Benivo, a platform which provides relocation support for companies’ employees; Baby2Body, a pregnancy monitoring app; and Obelisk Support, a global outsourcing business built around home-based lawyers.

The Mayor’s International Business Programme company Baby2Body, the online platform which offers expecting and new mothers personalised advice, have also announced a partnership with Nokia – using data tracked by Nokia devices to monitor a mother’s health.

Melinda Nicci, founder and CEO of Baby2Body, said: “After a hugely successful and influential trip to Silicon Valley earlier in the year, we are honoured to have been selected again to participate in the Mayor’s International Business Programme trip to Paris.

“The trip not only gives us the unique opportunity to strengthen our partnerships with French companies but also aids our goal of using innovative technology to give women all over the globe healthier pregnancies and babies.”

London and Paris remain firm trade partners following 2016’s EU referendum, with new figures compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional agency, showing that London-based firms attracted £2.1bn capital investment from France over the last 10 years, creating over 5,800 jobs for the capital.

London is also said to top the list of cities investing into France. Since 2007, London has invested over £5.75bn in French companies, with London firms - like ASOS; dating app Bumble - all investing in Paris.

UK exports to France have also seen a great increase over the last year, from £4.9bn in Q2 2016, to £6.5bn in Q2 2017 - a 32 per cent increase since the referendum.

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