Hong Kong venture capital firm Nest sets up shop in Paris to support French tech entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2015, 11:34am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 September, 2015, 11:38am

Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Nest has opened operations in Paris to support early-stage technology businesses in France, while expanding its international start-up eco-system.

“Paris is the heart of the FrenchTech start-up community, and is already home to thousands of aspiring founders and successful companies,” Nest chief executive Simon Squibb said.

READ MORE: Automaker Infiniti teams up with Hong Kong incubator Nest to promote 'smart cities'

“With its global acceleration model, world-class mentors and access to international capital, Nest hopes to empower the pioneering start-ups created by French entrepreneurs and help them scale and expand internationally.” 

In July, the company said it had established an office in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi to serve as a launchpad for innovative entrepreneurs in Africa.

Founded in 2010, privately-held Nest provides a range of resources to help businesses scale, including specialised services in marketing, strategy, funding and network development.

Its start-up eco-system now covers six cities — Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Nairobi and Paris.

French e-commerce entrepreneur and marketer Ethan Pierse has been appointed as managing partner at Nest’s Paris office.

Pierse has more than 20 years’ experience in digital marketing strategy with brands that include Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, BP and Delta Airlines.

“The FrenchTech start-up scene has developed rapidly over the past two years,” Pierse said. 

“Currently there are more than 50 accelerators and incubators, and hundreds of co-working spaces in Paris. The city is also a focal point for European venture funding.”

Venture capital-backed European technology start-ups raised a three-year high of US$2.5 billion on 264 deals in the first quarter this year, according to venture capital database CB Insights.

It said the most active European Union venture capital firm in that quarter was Paris-based ParTech Ventures, which made a variety of early-stage investments in its home market.

France recorded 59 venture capital-backed technology investments in the nine months ended March 31. Britain leads Europe in such investments, with 180 deals over the same period.

“Given the demand for our accelerators in Hong Kong, we envisage running similar programmes in Paris,” Pierse said. 

“We are currently engaged with a number of corporations, which have a mission to support the future of technology and innovation in France and across Europe.”

Nest has been at the forefront of developing accelerator programmes with leading companies in Asia. 

It has set up 12-week programmes designed to support entrepreneurs in the areas of “smart city” innovation with carmaker Infiniti Motor, financial technology with DBS Bank, and smart wearable technology with insurer AIA Group.