At Gitex in Dubai, French start-ups dream of Asia and the Middle East

With around sixty companies, including around forty within a pavilion set up for the occasion, the French presence at Gitex in Dubai is growing and dreams of overshadowing the CES in Las Vegas.

Dubai and its Gitex could they dethrone Las Vegas and the CES in the eyes of French tech companies? This is the conviction of Christian Pineau, director of International Boost, now the exclusive provider of the Arab show to organize a French convoy instead of Business France. “I had noticed that there were delegations from Poland, Great Britain, Italy and that we were not there. Last year was our first as a provider, we had brought 40 companies against five the previous year with Business France and we have created very strong links with the Dubai World Trade Center, to the point that they gave us exclusivity for five years.This year, we are 64 French companies, including 41 on the French flag.”

A presence financed by the regions and CCI

A pavilion adorned with the French Tech and Choose France logos, partners of International Boost with the Centre-Val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand-Est regions. To finance the cost of a stand at Gitex (4750 euros), the companies rely on their respective regions to cover 50% of the amount, the rest being compensated by the Relance Export check. Nevertheless, the logistics remain the responsibility of the companies, a ticket estimated at 2000 euros, nevertheless profitable by the visibility that the event brings, according to Christian Pineau. “Financially, there is no risk in view of the opportunity it represents. For companies discovering the United Arab Emirates, it is a very big surprise to meet this very dynamic and positive business world.”

On the first day of the event, Monday October 10, the enthusiasm was not shared by all entrepreneurs, little helped by the disastrous Gitex signage and a still erratic crowd. Half-words, some of them confided their disappointment. At the end of the week, the mines were this time more happy and satisfied, in particular thanks to the ease of access to local decision-makers. “Very high-level decision-makers, whether local authorities, governments or very large groups, are very accessible and curious, recognizes Valérie Mottl, international adviser Team France Export Grand Est, the region most represented at Gitex with nine companies. “Our companies are approached by C-Levels who come to talk to them, which is not necessarily the case at CES. Outside Gitex, it would be impossible to meet this type of interlocutor.”

An interest of local actors illustrated by the visit of the local Minister of Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Economy, Omar Al Olama or even that, more discreet, of the investment fund of Siemens, Next47. Already rewarded with Dubai Culture’s Creative Innovation Challenge prize, the Ile-de-France startup Popmii confirmed its growing aura on the spot with its selection in the final of the Supernova Challenge, a pitch competition. Others, like GreenTech Innovations (IoT green solutions) or Umbra (cybersecurity solution for mobile devices) recognized the positive impact of this show.

Some like Maxxing had already worked well upstream to solidify their presence in the region. However, even if Christian Pineau ensures that it is the “most promising files for the local market” which have been chosen for this pavilion, all the companies do not yet seem to have matured enough to establish themselves in the region, in particular without further follow-up. Finally, the double role of Christian Pineau, also at the head of the Maca company, present among the convoy and particularly highlighted in the pavilion brochure, raises questions.

In any case, the French pavilion was not the only way to establish itself at Gitex, with some companies preferring instead to integrate the halls of their sector, such as, whose solutions for creating immersive environments for enterprises were honored prominently in the center of the XVerse-sponsored Web3 hall. “It brought us a lot of visibility in a territory where we have not been very present so far. It was a very good week for us, declared to the JDN the co-founder and director Clément Foucher, regretting however “the absence of corporates” .

In the cybersecurity sector, Yogosha also stood apart by coming by his own means to a territory he already knows well. Off the microphone, a member of the company boasted at the JDN that Gitex was much more relevant than the CES in terms of interactions with decision-makers and easier access with Arab, Asian and Indian audiences. A sentiment shared by Geoffrey Costilhes, from Popmii. “At CES, you strangely only meet French people. There are fewer contract signatures while at Gitex, I have confirmed more than ten appointments for the day on Friday”, rejoiced the manager .

Next year, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region would already be ready to send around twenty companies, according to International Boost, which hopes for a greater mobilization on the part of the French regions around this show.

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At Gitex in Dubai, French start-ups dream of Asia and the Middle East

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