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When Silicon Valley startups want to sell ads they head to the South of France

Glamorous Cannes is now a routine stop on the road to IPO.

Why did almost everyone in the media world spend the last week in Cannes, France?

Well, for starters, because everyone in the media world — or at least the people who get to expense trips to Cannes, France — enjoys glad-handing, yacht-visiting and rosé-drinking, while telling themselves (and their employees) that they are Doing Important Work.*

Also, because Actual Work does indeed get done at Cannes during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity — actual advertisers cut actual checks, or at least promise to do so.

And also! Because Cannes has become an important coming-out stop for youngish digital companies that want to introduce themselves to the ad world, and declare that they are ready to take their money. Or, at least, that they want to do so soon.

The road to Cannes

That’s what Twitter co-founder Biz Stone did in 2009, nearly a year before Twitter started selling ads in earnest. Mark Zuckerberg visited in 2010. Evan Spiegel debuted two years ago. It has become an important box to check on the way to an IPO, which is also why Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann dropped by in 2014.

* What’s up, brosé.

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