Station F: the biggest startup campus in the world

Paris-based Station F is the world`s largest startup campus that was opened by President Emmanuel Macron on 1 July 2017 in the renovated Halle Freyssinet. Designed by famous French engineer Eugene Freyssinet in the 1920s, the Halle Freyssinet is a remarkable building made of prestressed concrete, which was listed as a Historical Monument in 2012.

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Image credits: Patrick Tourneboeuf for Station F

Station F was designed by French architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte and backed by Xavier Niel, a French billionaire businessman, active in the telecommunications and technology industry. He invested $295 million in the campus from his own funds.

“We wish to give a framework to the fragmented startup ecosystem in France and Europe. I also want to provide entrepreneurs the means to achieve high ambitions.” Xavier Niel

Place is 34,000m² space building, gathers under one roof the whole business ecosystem and hosts tech companies, workspaces, private offices, event spaces, restaurant and food offers, maker spaces, VCs, public administrations, and many more resources.

Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, said:

“Our goal with Station F is not only to create the largest startup campus in the world but also to create a space that houses an entire startup ecosystem under one roof. It’s a truly ambitious international project that puts France and Europe at the forefront of the international startup map.”

There are more than 1,000 startups working out of the Station F campus across 30 different startup programs, including a variety of partner programs. Partners include Facebook, Google Microsoft, Ubisoft, Zendesk.

Startups, despite their young age, have also experienced a lot of acquisitions. Recast.ia, a B2B chatbot solution at the Microsoft AI Factory was acquired by SAP during the first 6 months of their time on campus. And Daco, an AI-solution for e-commerce analysis, was acquired by Veepee after participating, Station F reports.

Also, Station F releases each year a list of its TOP 30 startups to highlight some of the leading startup successes.

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There are two programs: the Founders Program and the Fighters Program

  • The Founders Program offers early-stage startups from anywhere in the world full-time residency and a unique selection of workshops, experts, and exclusive offers. This program hosts 200-250 startups, welcoming anywhere from 50-150 new companies to the program each year.

    One of the key components of the Founders Program is the peer-to-peer learning model. Startups are divided into groups of 10 and encouraged to share challenges, resources, contacts, and more throughout the program. The rent for the workplace will be $230 per month.
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Image credits: Patrick Tourneboeuf for Station F
  • The Fighters Program is made to support entrepreneurs from underprivileged backgrounds (immigrants, refugees, etc.) The idea is that not everyone can afford a trendy diploma, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become great entrepreneurs.

    The Fighters Program is looking for entrepreneurs who have everything they need – no matter where they come from. If the person is selected to join the Fighters Program, he or she will be given access to all the resources in the Station F Founders Program for free. Fighters Program lasts one year.

How is the campus organized?

The campus is divided into 3 zones:

  • Share Zone is the area at the front of the building where the main entrance is. There are collected all the resources for our entrepreneurs. It also has private meeting rooms, several event spaces (including a 350-person auditorium), and a coworking cafe open-to-public.
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  • Create Zone is a large open-space area with 3000 desks that are divided into 30+ startup programs including the Founders Program, the Facebook Startup Garage, and more. The area is only accessible to resident startups.
  • Chill Zone, also known as La Felicità, is an area opened to the public during lunch and dinner hours. There are 5 kitchens, 2 bars, 1 cafe, and seating for up to 1000 people in this space. There are also 2 event spaces in this area: Mezzanine Amazonia and Mezzanine Biblioteca.

Also, they launched a co-living extension, Flatmates, to house 600 entrepreneurs from campus for the duration of their program. Flatmates offers a full experience with common spaces, including a café and grocery shop, a gym, a laundromat, a huge lounge, and an event space.

There are three types of rooms: standard room with shared bathroom (for two people) at $470/month, premium room with a private bathroom at $650/month, and couple room with a private bathroom and a dressing for $945/month.

Station F Team

The Station F team is currently composed of approximately 35 people, all from the startup ecosystem. Collectively, the team has previously worked for organizations including TechCrunch, Microsoft, Founders Forum, Europe1, Electonic Arts, Ikea, Trainline, Ecole 42, and has also founded a handful of startups. The team includes people from France, the US, Morocco, Algeria, Portugal, Canada, Italy, and Iran.

Station F in figures

  • 34,000 square meters
  • 310 meters long (as the size of the Eiffel tower)
  • 1,000 startups
  • 9,000 building capacity
  • 3000 startup work stations
  • 30+ international startup programs
  • 40+ VC members
  • 615 events per year
  • 600 non-French speakers
  • 100,000+ visitors per year
  • $295 million invested