Why a successful entrepreneur left California and came to the “Silicon Valley of Europe”

Michael Amar, the founder of Ifeelgoods decided to swap the Silicon Valley for Aix-en-Provence.

While San Francisco is still considered the land of possibility and Silicon Valley continues to attract French start-ups, some bold entrepreneurs are making the reverse trip across the Atlantic to take advantage of the booming tech scene in the South of France. This is the case of Michael Amar, the founder of Ifeelgoods.

That’s the case with Michael Amar, the cofounder of Ifeelgoods, an online platform that allows companies and marketers to provide rewards for their clients. After seeing speeches by Emmanuel Macron welcoming researchers and entrepreneurs to France, he decided to take his business back to his native country by opening offices in Aix-en-Provence.

“We work internationally,” explains Amar. “Notions of space and time are changing so we could choose a site where we wanted to work.”

Having come from California, Provence’s climate and nature were important to Amar. But what truly motivated the move was input from Denis Philipon, the CEO and cofounder of Provence-based tech leader voyageprive.com. “I’d heard talk that the region lagged behind in terms of tech development, but the success of voyageprive.com shows this is a great place for a start-up,” says Amar.

The local tech ecosystem has also impressed Amar, particularly thecamp, the new centre for emerging technology and social innovation outside of Aix-en-Provence, which he describes as, “a catalyst that will boost development for major companies and provide a foundation for start-ups.”

Amar launched his entrepreneurial career in France and then moved to America as an “adventure”. In 2010, he started Ifeelgoods, the client rewards platform used by brands such as Walmart, Gap, and L’Oréal. Along with running his company, Amar also serves as a board member for the Station F start-up campus in Paris, an ambassador for the national French Tech program, and a consultant for the Cathay Innovation tech investment fund.