French yachtsman Alain Thebault wants to turn a boat design he used to break a world speed sailing record in 2009 into a clean, fast taxi service for the waterways of major cities called Seabubbles. Roseanna Philpott reports.
Emmanuel Macron's 'startup nation' may not actually be so startup friendly... When he was economy minister, the now French President once championed this business idea: SeaBubbles Flying water taxis that preserve their batteries by rising out of the water on legs at speed Creator Alain Thebault wants to use them as clean and fast transportation on city waterways starting here - on the river Seine in Paris. But French government restrictions and administrative bureaucracy have repeatedly held them back Thebault says it's taken months to lease two cars and register the company... something that could have taken just hours in another country. The big obstacle: convincing Parisian authorities to raise the speed limit on the Seine Something they've so far rejected. Thebault has already won backing from private investors and expects to raise between 50 to 100 million euros by the end of September. he says if it's too tricky to start up in France, SeaBubbles has plenty of interest from other cities around the World. It's a common problem among France's now bursting new business scene But investors say startups are being held up by red tape and labor laws - not money Investment bank Bpifrance pumped 191 million euros into the industry last year. and investor confidence is still growing, after the election of business friendly Macron