VivaTech : international, yet imbalanced

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Viva Technology, a European CES with a French touch?

This month, Viva Technology gathered the French Tech community in Paris. Organized by Publicis and Les Echos, this second edition had a clear objective to grow its international brand recognition among world-class tech companies. For its visibility, the event benefited from Emmanuel Macron’s visit, the new elected French President. To go beyond French borders, the organizers invited a prestigious line-up of international speakers.

What’s the idea behind VivaTech, besides creating a world-class event focused on innovation and inspiration? Who are the speakers? How many women or men? How many European or Americans? The teams at NamSor and Estimeo reveal some useful figures.

Daring Feminism in Tech!

With only 10% of women in Tech on average, the global startup ecosystem is often criticized for its lack of gender diversity and there are many debates on the chicken-or-egg causality dilemma for such imbalance. However, VivaTech took the bold step of welcoming 35% women speakers in 2017. Among French speakers, the ratio is even 41%, getting close to parity. Is that a sign of a growing “Women Tech Power”?

As for the upcoming Inspire Fest 2017 (Dublin, 6th-8th July, ~70% women in STEM), we can only guess the amount of effort required of organizers to source the right speakers.

Engaging powerful and international women’s networks such as the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society might have been also instrumental in VivaTech’s going-global strategy.

VivaTech : more international, still imbalanced

For this second edition of VivaTech, French speakers made room for speakers coming from the US and other European countries. Among Europeans, Great-Britain took the lion’s share of the new line-up.


The bulk of the internationalization came from North America and almost exclusively the United-States of America.


With about ~32 countries represented, VivaTech is definitely an international event. It’s interesting though to consider which countries are not represented (or very under-represented). For example, French-speaking countries besides France (Canada/Quebec, Belgium, … the “Francophonie“) are almost absent. So are Central and Eastern European countries. Even on a continent level, Asia was represented by just a few prominent figures, such as Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba. If the number of Asian speakers should reflect international trade with Asia (import / exports), it fell short of a hundred names at least. No speaker came either from Central and South America or Oceania, despite a booming startup ecosystem reported by Tech Crunch only a month ago.


Same goes with Africa. Despite having many countries that are key trade partners of France, the whole continent had only four speakers. Africa was a key topic debated at VivaTech, given the interest French major companies have in the region, but it was not given the floor. Currently in Tech, Africa only exists via its Diasporas. Yet, by 2050, Africa will represent 50% of the World’s population growth.

A comparison with the WebSummit Portugal is eloquent, as the event displays a very similar profile (except, with Portugal being the host country) :

To some extent, Tech events such as VivaTech or the WebSummit reflect how much Europe is struggling to build up its internal digital market and it’s direct ICT footprint with the rest of the World.

In any case, there is a dynamic to internationalize between 2016 and 2017 that will carry on next year. We look forward to VivaTech2018 and hearing more speakers from Africa, Asia and Latin-America!

[ En français – read this post in French on Estimeo’s MEDIUM ]

Data Files : QS_vivatech16_17_counts [1] QS_TradeFlows_vs_VivaTech2017 [2]

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of sociolinguistics software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.
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