From Venture Beat’s Chris O’Brien: The director of Station F announced today that the ambitious $265 million startup campus in Paris will open its doors in April after two years of construction and amid enormous hopes that it will deliver a shot of adrenaline into France’s tech economy.
Director Roxanne Varza also revealed for the first time the details of Station F’s partners and what will be happening at a place that boasts it will be home to 1,000 startups. The renovated historic train station will have three sections: a space with 3,000 desks for startups; an event space for conferences and meetings; and a retail zone for the public that will include four kitchens and a bar open 24 hours a day.
The mix of tenants will also include venture capital firms, a FabLab hacker space, and corporate partners such as Facebook and Vente Privee. As part of the project, Station F is also redeveloping two nearby buildings that will offer subsidized housing for 600 people who are in some way connected to the campus.
Even though the Paris tech scene has come a long way in the two years since the project was announced, Varza said the goal largely remains the same: to create a place that offers a center of gravity for Paris entrepreneurs while making a larger statement about France’s startup ambitions to the world.
“We’ve approached it as creating an entire ecosystem under one roof,” Varza said. “This clearly puts Paris on the map for startups. We are the largest startup campus in the world.”
The project is being almost entirely funded by telecom entrepreneur Xavier Niel, with the City of Paris contributing some infrastructure around the building. The maverick billionaire has spent $265 million of his own money on Station F and the housing project. Niel is also the financial backer of Ecole 42, a free and innovative coding school in Paris. And he’s also the founder of the Kima Ventures fund, which has become one of Europe’s most active startup backers.