Deep tech, which includes artificial intelligence and robotics, will "completely transform societies and organisations" and France needs to be at the front of the game, said the country's president Emmanual Macron.
Speaking at a talk titled "A Conversation With European Scale-Ups" at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, Macron said "this is a matter of sovereignty for us".
He explained that "if we miss this window of opportunity and leave the floor to the US and China, they will will decide the technology we have for following decade".
"As Europeans if we want to decide for ourselves, this is a huge incentive to build and finance European solutions. This is a political matter."
Macron spoke about the work that needs to be done to attract investors to the European bloc. One of the ways to do this is to create "a true European single market" and work on "speediness and scale".
Denis Ladegaillerie, CEO of music recording company Believe (BLV.PA), said it was important for him to launch an IPO in France rather than the US because in the next few years Asia and Europe will surpass the US as the biggest music markets.
Commenting on this, Macron said: “Your rational is based on the fact that the European market is single market and we have to lift barriers to make this real.”
He also appreciated Believe's decision to go public in Paris, as he thinks successful startups listing in Europe will create more trust in the ecosystem and give companies access to scale, better analysts who understand their business model, and more investors.
Macron said creating the right regulations and incentives and getting big companies with large caps to cooperate with startups is crucial to developing the tech sector.
"Europe is more and more perceived as business friendly and very innovative. The more we increase the strength of this place regarding startups the more you will attract investors to put money in Europe."
Also crucial is revamping France’s procurement process, which at the moment only deals with “the usual suspects”.
"If we play with the usual suspects with average tickets and slow reaction times honestly we will be totally lost in the coming decade in energy, mobility, deep tech and climate change”.
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