On Friday April 10th, the French Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire, showed her support for Be-Bound’s efforts to bridge the digital divide by cutting the ribbon for our grand opening ceremony for our new premises in Versailles. We were also honored to have the city’s Mayor, Francois de Mazières, join us in a show of support. The event was full of excitement and a great day for the Be-Bound team!
Albert Szulman, Be-Bound’s CEO gave the opening speech, which included the French expression, “Ce n’est pas la perle qui fait le collier, c’est le fil,” which translates loosely to, “the pearl alone doesn’t make the necklace.” The support and encouragement of Mrs. Lemaire and Mr. de Mazières have been essential to our success.
During her inaugurating speech, Axelle Lemaire stressed the importance of bridging the digital divide, stating that the effort would “not only [make] communications possible, but also bring access to knowledge, education, culture, modernity, and progress.” Mrs. Lemaire rightfully pointed out that the divide is a social, societal, economic, and geopolitical issue.
Mrs .Lemaire emphasized that the whole of Be-Bound’s technology is based on frugal innovation. Our hybrid technology uses the existing networks, from 2 to 4G to maintain a mobile internet connection continuity. This means that no infrastructure investments are needed by local MNOs. Together, Be-Bound and local MNOs can bridge the digital divide now. In all areas where the local operator cannot offer a 3G connection, Be-Bound’s technology takes over and, by doing so, extends the coverage of its partners and brings people online who otherwise would have no access.
The theme of the day was how much excitement Be-Bound has generated in the French startup community. Mrs. Lemaire mentioned the importance of forming alliances between larger groups and smaller startups in order for innovation to remain open and foster economic growth. The French startup scene as a whole has picked up in the past few years and is gaining traction. Organizations such as LeWeb have emerged that are driving startup growth, and the appearance of the blog RudeBaguette (an English language publication covering the French startup scene) is an example of international interest being built around the French startup community. Startups transform cities into growth hubs. They accelerate interest and economic prospects in their respective regions.
In the French startup ecosystem, Be-Bound stands out. In 2012, we placed 2nd in the LeWeb startup competition. In 2014 we became the first non-American startup to be incubated at PARC and just last month we were one of seven French companies chosen to take part in the French Telecom and Broadcasting for ASEAN, in Vietnam .This year, the Mayor of Versailles said that he was proud to welcome Be-Bound to his city. We are incredibly honored that this year, Axelle Lemaire gave us such a warm welcome for our new office location. In doing so, The French Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs expressed enthusiasm for Be-Bound’s technology and the company’s outlook for international growth. She made it clear that she is determined to welcome more businesses like ours to France and aid them in their reach for international expansion.