“At first, nothing worked, Station F director Roxanne Warsaw recalled, no wifi or coffee machines. That was in June 2017, One of the world’s largest incubators opens in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. . Since then, all amenities are operational and the space is always full. In five years, there will be 5,015 start-ups (27,200 entrepreneurs) in this iconic space, 92.4% of whom are still in business. There are no official statistics, but many companies initially estimate a failure rate of 80 to 90%.
Station F has only one unicorn: Hugging face, open source floor It offers machine learning models and is now headquartered in the United States. “It takes an average of six or seven years to become a unicorn, so we have to get others later,” Roxanne Versa responds.
Equality is almost respected
Another surprising number: the role of women. More than 41% of start-ups are founded or co-founded by women. This is higher than the national average of 16%. According to a recent study by Sista Joint .
“We are amazed at this number. Since the inception of Station F, we have noticed that women are not applying arbitrarily. [les incubateurs de grands groupes et écoles, NDLR] Duty to make efforts on women’s candidatures. We are very happy that it worked, “said Roxanne Warsaw.
Station F has also worked to improve diversity. About 35% of entrepreneurs are foreigners with strong representation of Americans, English and Moroccans. The Fighters program, which targets entrepreneurs from underprivileged backgrounds, kicked off Fighters Day in 2021, an event dedicated to entrepreneurial diversity. The path is still long. According to the event and a study conducted by the Diversdays Association with PwC 39% of employees in start-ups say they have already been discriminated against during their integration.
A complete ecosystem
About 77% of founders, thanks to Station F, say they have encountered a personality that is highly inaccessible (recognized entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, etc.). “Station F was clear before and after for my business. It just allowed me to build a better network, ”says Justin Ba, co-founder of Airbnb’s Roombâ for public spaces.
The young woman joined the HEC Incubator, one of about thirty Station F partners (compared to 24 in 2017) with Facebook, Ubisoft and Microsoft. “We have succeeded in bringing together large teams in live competition under one roof, which is very crazy,” Roxanne Varza welcomes.
Station F Big Mama also ran a 1,000-seat restaurant called La Felicita from the chain, and created a co-living platform called Flatmates. Start-ups like Qonto and Payfit have opened offices on the site to support entrepreneurs in their management and banking practices. You are constantly meeting investors and political figures from all over the world to get inspiration from that place.
Lots of controversy
The Persian incubator has its difficulties starting with the Govt. Initially saw face to face, Station F model faced cancellation events Vacant offices . It’s October 2021 that launches the full online program for those who want to start a business but do not know how to do it.
The Fellowship program was designed for those who were in Paris at the right time, thus providing access to the office 5 days a month, which was not a great success. “All the start-ups that refused from our plans used it, and that was not the goal,” says Roxanne Versa.
Mega restaurant does not attract everyone. Two months after the opening, locals complained about the noise, so they started a petition with the formation of the ‘Chevrolet Harassment Joint’. The restaurant manager installed a ‘sound limiter’ and called the security service.
Some associates are viewed with suspicion by some, such as American Planter, which was relocated to Station F at the end of 2021 to outsource its services to start-ups. The data analysis company has been developing a strong culture of confidentiality and has previously made headlines for being involved in privacy infringement cases.
And in five years?
A few weeks ago, the arrival of Total made some residents jump. The French company has launched a program there for start-ups specializing in renewable energy. The reason for the controversy? The EACOP project is a giant oil pipeline that wants to build Total in Uganda. The petition, signed by more than 500 people, has been released.
“There is a misunderstanding in our position. The partnership has nothing to do with EACOP. I understand the petition and the use of all possible levers to stop this project.
Station F in five years? “Hybrid work. Initially, we focused on filling, ”says the manager. And investment finance? “We do not want to do something first, because we do not want to see it as a ‘space versus equity’ formula.
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