French Startups Take Refuge in New York

Mr. Abehassera.

We won’t attempt to spell the way┬áIlan Abehassera pronounces the word “entrepreneur.” It’s as elaborate, grand and guttural as you’d expect from a French native, but you can tell he’s holding back a bit, Americanizing the consonants and clipping his vowels just slightly. It’s probably unconscious; the entrepreneur has been in the U.S. for eight years, most of them in New York. “NYC Entrepreneur” is the title of his website. He is the founder and CEO of productivity suite Producteev.

It’s funny, the tech industry is so obsessed with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. “I’m an entrepreneur,” says Justin Timberlake in the Social Network, with a cocky half-smile, as he pulls a shirt over his head after bagging a Stanford hottie. It’s a favorite descriptor in Twitter bios and LinkedIn pages. Lately, nothing is sexier than “an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.”

We forgot it was a French word, we admitted. Mr. Abehassera laughed. “I don’t know why though, because you have much better entrepreneurs than in France,” he said. Read More