Station F is the only startup campus gathering a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem under one roof. Backed financially by Xavier Neal directed by Roxanne Varza, it aims to have over one thousand startups in the retired train station over time. It's also interesting that Neal doesn't expect any revenue for this project, which is intended to be a 24/7 operation. Varza also noted that the facility will "have meeting rooms, an auditorium, a post office, a café, a restaurant with four kitchens and a bar. Station F itself will have a Founders Program to connect founders together."
Here are the headlines:
A few questions immediately came to mind:
- Can you create a startup culture by design?
- Is their a certain mix of companies or people that you need in order for the project to succeed?
- What is it about a studio environment that helps people to collaborate?
- Is proximity to other creative types enough to stimulate innovation?
- As a figural island in an urban area, how do they develop working relationships with the community?
- Are there free options for citizens to get involved?
- Will the community have access, at some level, to the center's services?
- Can a startup grow out of what Station F has to offer?
A culture will develop in Station F, but what will it become over time? A lot depends on how Varza directs the operation and sets the tone for how people should interact with her and the leadership team. The nature of the interactions that develop within the building may also depend on how the "whole entrepreneurial ecosystem" is arranged. The physical location of the elements that define this ecosystem were hopefully thought about so that relationships will grow naturally.
Station F is an ambitious project and I'll be keeping a close watch not only on who invests in it's future, but more importantly the results it creates in the form of new companies and initiatives.