Opening an office in a new country is a big leap forward for companies, and France has long been considered as a daunting place when it comes to business. But it has actually become far easier to start a business in France than you might use to think. There’s in fact a lot of efficient and simple solutions to help you get your business off the ground and Guillaume Montard, an international serial entrepreneur, shared some of his tips to ease the administrative process.


Post written by  Guillaume Montard

I’m back at being an entrepreneur this year and just launched a brand new startup here in France. This new venture is my third one in 12 years — but my last one having been started in 2007, a few things changed since then…

What is it like to launch a company in 2018?

Honestly this is easier than ever, thanks to new laws that have been able to bootstrap a whole ecosystem of startup focused on easing your “administrative” tasks as a founder!

1- Legal Setup

The time of gibberish forms and endless back and forth with the administration is over, you can now start a company 100% digitally – without hassle — and have everything ready in 3 to 4 days maximum!

For that purpose we used LegalStart.fr

The big plus is that even if you are new to entrepreneurship, LegalStart provides you with very good information and advice — definitely a great source of knowledge.

2- Banking

One big part of the process of setting up a company is to open a bank account (it’s mandatory) — and sadly banks are usually a huge hassle. On the consumer level a lot of new options are now available (N26, Revolut etc.), but don’t worry entrepreneur have not been forgotten!

You can now open a bank account, have an IBAN and Credit Cards in few clicks, no phone call, no paperwork and most importantly no opening hours!

For that purpose we use Qonto.eu

The nice thing is that Qonto and LegalStart are partners, making the whole capital process very simple.

Disclaimer: As of today these solutions are not yet fully comparable to “traditional” bank offers, meaning that if you plan to keep lot of money (for ex. with a VC round) you will probably still have to open a traditional bank account later. That said it might change with the future opening of MargoBank and still it’s a great solution for many.

Disclaimer by PRIME: It can be challenging for an American Companies to open a bank account in Europe since FATCA’s application. Our bank and legal partners can help you smooth the process. To get an idea of the required documents and different steps, you can refer to this article.

3- Office Space

Working remotely is definitively a great option in 2018, still you might want to get an office, meet with co-workers or simply don’t feel working alone.

In France, renting an office is legally very constraining (“bail 3/6/9”), expensive, subject to taxes and therefore not flexible. That’s also changing thanks to CoWorking Spaces that boomed in the last 18 months.

If you live in Paris, there are literally dozens of very nice co-working spaces. You can rent — without any commitment — from a single desk to a 2 or 50 people closed office in a matter of hours and be ready to work asap (Internet, furniture, meeting rooms, kitchen, coffee etc.- all included).

There are even startups handling that search & find process for you!

For that purpose we used Kowffice & LeoSquare and ended-up renting at At Home.

4- Employee Pay & Health Insurance

Now that you are ready to hire people you need to manage what we call “The Pay” and everything that goes with it. Remember France is a welfare state, meaning it doesn’t come free of charge and administrative complexity!

That said this complexity is now a thing from the past — you don’t need to read the entire labor code anymore or hire dedicated people to manage it.

For the pay we use PayFit

Payfit is even able to manage employee’s expense report and obviously link that to the monthly pay. They handle every possible scenario which is highly impressive.

For the health insurance we use Alan

The nice thing is that PayFit and Alan did partner and the link between them is automated!

What else do you need to handle?

Accounting — There are startups that try to ease that part (Fred), but at the end it is a person’s job where trust is key.

Legal — Same apply to lawyers, and probably even more. Legal is about lot of different highly critical topics — corporate legal, IP, employment law etc. — that you don’t want to underestimate! The best idea is to have someone that can coordinate all those different aspects for you.

Insurance — If you have an office you legally have to get insurance and besides it’s a good idea to get one for the company. It’s fairly easy with lot of private offers, some are now even focusing on startup [ like Axa’s Startup Insurance ]

I hope this post will make you want to start a company in France and even help you, remember we now are a Startup Nation!

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Other Ressources recommended by PRIME:

Made in Law – to incorporate your company

In Extenso – Accounting

Maupard – Legal & Accounting

Lex2B – Legal

Neva – R&D Tax Credit

Startizy – Insurance

Phileass – Insurance

WeWork – Coworking

NextDoor – Coworking

Dream Catcher Sales – Recruiting (sales / Biz Dev)

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Guillaume Montard is Co-Founder & CEO of Bearer, French entrepreneur since 2006 & Investor “in some of the best tech companies in Europe”. Bearer brings the ultimate technology to build plug’n play, reusable API Integration, helping developers & companies get the most of APIs.
This article was first published on Mythought.io, Guillaume Montard’s personal blog on Technology & Start-up.