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Viva Technology Paris: Global corporations, VCs and 5,000 startups coming together this summer

France is taking a giant step toward becoming the innovation capital of Europe.

Viva Technology Paris is billed as Europe’s largest tech event and the first global collaboration bringing together large corporations, investors and startups.

5383985_viva-technology-526b5114853-original_545x460_autocropScheduled for 30 June through 2 July, Viva Technology Paris will give 5,000 startups the chance to connect with thousands of senior executives, investors, academics and opinion leaders from all over the world, according to a news release.

The sheer scale of the event is impressive: For three days, the event will take up 30,000 m2 (323,000 square feet, or more than 7 acres), at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, with 5,000 startups and a projected 30,000 attendees.

The event has backing from some of the biggest tech and financial firms in the world including global insurer AXA, banking giant BNP Paribas, London-based accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, Google and Orange, the French telecommunications conglomerate. With AXA and BNP Paribas as participants, it’s safe to assume fintech, which is what Europe does best, will be the driver.

“The digital revolution is shaking up the value chain of many economic sectors, Fintech is probably one of the best examples,” Henri de Castries, AXA president and CEO, stated in the release.

The Viva Technology Paris selection process starts with Viva Technology Connect, scheduled for March in Paris. The Connect website states the process will start with some of the world’s largest corporations and heavyweight tech VCs identifying “key challenges,” then inviting startups from around the globe to submit solutions.

Viva Technology Connect is billed as “a digital platform for global collaboration between tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and academics.” Which we interpret as the creation of a curated social media site combined with a digital reference directory, accessible by big companies and VCs. The startups submitting the most promising ideas will be invited to Viva Technology.

The VTP model  follows a model that’s finally getting traction in Europe. Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric and other American companies have reached out to nimble techies and makers to help them solve problems with which hidebound corporations sometimes struggle.

“Start-ups and large companies must join forces to enable the former to develop and the latter to transform,” stated Francis Morel, CEO of financial media group Groupe Les Echos in a news release. “Viva Technology Paris is the first global event with this ambition at its core.” French advertising group Publicis and financial daily Les Echos are hosting Viva Technology Paris.

Paris-Expo-Porte-de-Versailles---630x405---©-Manuel-Madelaine-ICFor Viva Technology Paris, the 30,000 m2 Paris Expo Hall 1 will be divided into three main areas. From the release:

• Hack: Spread out across 15,000 m2, Viva Technology Paris will be the world’s largest ephemeral collaboration space.  Twenty specialized labs set up by economic sector will serve as meeting hubs for discussion and collaboration between leading companies, the 1,000 start-ups selected, investors and academics, from across every sector.

• Imagine: This dedicated conference area will host more than 200 events including 24 plenary sessions along the theme of “Technology & Business, the new corporate paradigm” to be chaired by world-renowned personalities. A further 180 specialized conferences on how major sectors of the economy are evolving will be organized with the involvement of cutting- edge start-ups and leading companies from the sector.

• Experience: This area will present and demonstrate how new technologies are contributing to our lives now and in the future. Here, a selection of 50 of the most creative firms in the world will present their latest innovations, from next-generation drones to state-of-the-art connected objects and more. Demonstrations including driverless cars, solar engines, augmented reality, 3D printing, robots and high-tech medicals.

Dispatches will follow the build-up to Viva Technology Paris.

As a footnote, it’s important Viva Technology Paris is happening as Xavier Niel is planning the largest startup incubator in the world. The $190-million project will renovate Paris’ Halle Freyssinet, a 323,000-square-foot railway building constructed in the 1920s, for use as an incubator space with room for 1,000 startups, according to Journal du Net

Stay tuned because we might be heading for a major showdown between Paris and Berlin.

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