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French Tech Touches Down
at AXA Center in New York

France Showcases Tech Expertise for U.S. Audience at La French Touch Conference

Stressing that "entrepreneur is a French word," the AXA Center auditorium played host to a first-of-its-kind conference designed to introduce nearly 100 of France's most successful tech innovators to New York, a city where promising companies can find the financing to commercialize their ideas. 


The two-day event, called "La French Touch," held June 26-27, was lead-sponsored by AXA, which was joined by nearly 30 other organizations, including Air France, Dell, Accor, Pernod Ricard and Havas. 
In his opening remarks, La French Touch conference founder Gael Duval saluted New York City as a place beloved by the French and conveniently midway between Silicon Valley and Paris. 

"We love art, design and fashion and the way New York can transform the mixture of U.S. spirit and French entrepreneurialism," Duval said, also saluting AXA's Frédéric Tardy, Group director for marketing and distribution, and Guillaume Cabrère, director of the AXA Lab, for their part in making the event a reality. Cabrère sat in on one of the judging panels for the startup contest portion of the conference. “Events like the French Touch Conference present a tremendous opportunity for the French tech scene to get exposed to the mindset and methods of one of the most prominent markets for tech entrepreneurship, innovation and VC funding,” Cabrère said.   
AXA has taken tech innovation very seriously and sponsoring this conference is a continuation of AXA’s engagement with the tech world. AXA Lab opened in San Francisco earlier this year to connect the company to the cutting edge of technologies emerging from Silicon Valley.  
  
Following Duval was Fleur Pellerin, France's Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Tourism and French Nationals Abroad. "Tech no longer has boundaries," she said. "Talent, capital and markets are mobile. It's essential to think global from the very start. I believe that France has all the tools it needs for success.” 

A mix of American and French leaders traded ideas during sessions such as the “Love & Hate Relationship between Advertising & Tech,” “Fashion, Food & Tech” and “The Sharing Economy.”  One idea was voiced by both the French and American tech leaders: France has the creativity, education, and ability to create wonderful and useful advances. What they are lacking are the market, funding, and exposure of the United States.  

As expected at a tech conference, personal devices were abuzz with Twitter activity. Event-goers interacted and commented on the conference by using the hashtag #LFTConf. The AXA Event Center’s Twitter handle, @AXACenter_NYC, captured notable moments throughout the two-day event.  

“It was energizing for AXA to host and contribute to the digital conversation taking place between 400 U.S. and French entrepreneurs, startups and VCs,” said Stéphane Aknin, director of the AXA Center in New York.  

Connect with the @AXACenter_NYC on Twitter to learn more about La French Touch as well as future events.