The French Richard Branson Is Launching World’s Biggest Co-Working Space In Paris

Telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel bought Halle Freyssinet for €70 million to create Station F co-working space, making ex Tech Crunch journalist Roxanne Varza director.

The world’s biggest startup Campus will open at the end of June in Paris.

French billionaire and techpreneur Xavier Niel, owner of France’s second largest ISP provider, Free, is backing the project, having bought the 34,000-square metre Halle Freyssinet abandoned railway building for €70 million, before invested a further €217 million into the project.

The campus, situated at 55 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, in the South East of the city and close to the banks of the Seine, will be called Station F, and will contain more than 3,000 desks, 10 international startup programs, a makerspace, restaurant, 4 kitchens, and a café and bar. Prices start at just €195 euros per month.

The space was due to open this month but the grand opening has been put back due to a flood caused by a burst pipe in the sublevels of the building.

Facebook, Zendesk, HEC, Numa and others have all committed to running exclusive startup programs at the venue, with more partner programs in the pipeline, its said.

Station F is running its own Founders Program for ambitious international early stage startups and is promising “no bullshit mentors, coaches or offers”, and perks including unlimited Wi-Fi, access to meeting rooms, printers and snacks, and 24/7 access to the building.

The first major partner offer for startups will come from Airbnb, who have pledged to give all 3,000 entrepreneurs based in the building a Business Travel Airbnb Station F account, with a $50 coupon which can be activated after a first trip, as well as a $100 dollar gift card for each entrepreneur who rents their apartment on Airbnb.

Startups that make it onto Airbnb’s Founders Program will also receive €2,000 worth of extra coupons each.

Roxanne Varza, an ex-Tech Crunch journalist and Director of Microsoft Ventures and Bizspark, has been appointed Station F’s director, and it is rumoured that the space will also house VC and law firms, accountants, post offices and restaurants all geared to ensure that startup founders have everything they need to succeed under one roof.

The building is truly stunning, and you can take the VR tour here; at 58 metres wide and 310 metres long (that’s as long as the Eiffel Tower on its side!) with many of the original features kept (expect to see train carriages and chunks of rail in the restaurant area) and 5 exclusive venues, including a 900 square metre “Open Platform” and a master stage with 352 seats, it looks like Paris based entrepreneurs are getting one almighty shot in the arm!

Where’s your money, Mr Branson? We always felt Necker Island would suit a startup cohort or ten!

%d bloggers like this: