You Tube's vast numbers aren't that important, the team argues, as they are avoiding user-generated skateboarding kittens in favour of revenue-sharing agreements with creative partners; in the UK this includes ITN and Fulham football club.The site was founded in 2005 and rapidly built a global presence.
De Martino also emphasises the firm's expansion beyond his native country -- it currently offers 34 localised versions across the globe.
Daily Motion launched from the living room of Olivier Poitrey, one of six founders who each put in €6,000 in March 2005, a month before You Tube's French debut.
It built a following by showing outtakes from Nicolas Sarkozy's election campaign of that year, such as his infamous "get lost then, you poor idiot" remark.2: Criteo Since appearing in last year's list, Criteo had a strong 12 months.
The "personalised retargeting" company helps online retailers track people around the internet, monitoring where they browse and what interests them, and then pitching display ads to match.
If you skip from, say, H&M to e Bay, the auction site will feature ads related to the products you just browsed on H&M.
It's a technology-intensive business with a ratio of perspiration to inspiration that would scare many would-be entrepreneurs.
"We focused purely on R&D for the first three years," explains CEO and cofounder Jean-Baptiste Rudelle.
"Display advertising has been around for 15 years but it's a hugely inefficient market because there is so little investment in technology."Rudelle believes Criteo's research binge set the firm two years ahead of competitors.
This article was taken from the September 2012 issue of Wired magazine.
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Critics argue that French startups struggle to expand globally, but Paris has steered the development of ecommerce across the world.