CNBC recently visited the campus, which opened in 2017 and for which start-ups must apply through a variety of incubators and programs. And it’s not just a home for tech, either: The campus also includes the likes of L’Oreal, LVMH and BNP Paribas.
“They love being able to talk to people that have encountered the same difficulties, that have resources, that have contacts, so they’re really sharing with each other and I think that’s the main resource that you find here,” Roxanne Varza, the program director for Station F, said of the start-ups and entrepreneurs there.
Station F was backed by French telecom billionaire Xavier Niel, who poured $ 285 million into the project and was launched around the same time French President Emmanuel Macron took office. Macron has vowed to make France a “startup nation.”
At Station F, Benjamin Joffe, a partner at hardware accelerator HAX which is part of venture capital firm SOSV, praised France’s recent improvements in its available talent, government support and access to early-stage capital.
“France now has a lot of the elements necessary to actually create new companies,” he said.
But, while the aim of Station F is to put France on the international start-up map, Joffe also still sees potential barriers.
“What’s still missing in the ecosystem are things around skills for growth, maybe marketing skills as well, knowledge of international markets and the last thing that’s also missing, I think, in the environment, is the habits and knowledge around exits,” he added. “A lot of start-ups are being created, but really the proof comes when you have an exit.”