Tech Billionaire Guru Creates More Opportunity in France
Xavier Niel is worth $10.5 billion, and is making is mission to create new opportunity in France. Entrepreneurs all over Paris our meeting with Xavier and pitching their ideas in hopes of getting not only his financial support but access to his business acumen and technical wizardry.
France been struggling to come back from 12 straight quarters of economic stagnation. Xavier is an entrepreneur who not only avoided this economic issue but exploded successfully throughout it. Xavier has been quoted as saying it is worse in France than in most other countries. He's of course referring to the lack of economic growth. During this time stagnation Xavier created a company from scratch with a market valuation of $19 billion. So what could this man do during a time of economic prosperity? Probably anything he wanted to.
French businesses have long avoided risks at all cost, favoring a type of corporate conformity that encompassed almost every vertical located there. This lack of entrepreneurial culture throughout the society is the centerpiece behind why they have stagnated for over a decade, and my few to none have any idea how to get out of this problem. Xavier Niel thinks he knows how to get out of this. He's going to start by finding energetic, driven entrepreneurs in Paris and make sure they have the funding they need to grow their businesses and ultimately change the culture of business in the country that he loves.
Xavier wants to create a new generation of French tech players and is ready to put his money where his mouth is. Since Xavier himself is worth 10.5 billion, and runs a business worth 19 billion he has the capital to make things happen. And already French entrepreneurs are gathering around him and waiting for direction. Xavier himself skipped college and started his career writing code for, unbelievably, online sex chat rooms. Today he is the head of the number two broadband provider in France, owns a newspaper, and is the sixth richest person in the country.
Normally in France the expected route one takes to business and success would go through one of the top schools, go to work for a Fortune 500, then spend the rest your life there. Xavier is the exception that confirms the rule. He is a programmer, a geek, a self-made man, and most of all a paradoxical French businessman.
Niel launched the first Internet service provider in France in 1993 and then almost single-handedly broke apart the countries telecom oligopoly. In 2012 Xavier introduced a mobile phone service that charged half what the competitors were charging within one quarter over 8 million consumers flocked to his service.
Niel is now going after the French corporate system and using his wealth to build his version of Silicon Valley. He wants to foster tech startups and attract new talent to Paris and create a community of computer scientists, investors, and business leaders that come together and create new companies and jobs within France. This is Xavier's method of breaking the stagnation in the country and by changing the business culture as a whole.