What to expect from STATION F in 2019

2018 has been an incredible year. We’ve now officially been up and running for one and a half years, and so much has happened since our opening in June 2017.

Facts and figures: a quick recap.

In the short time we’ve been around, we’ve had over 11,000 startups apply to Station F from over 78 countries. We’ve selected and welcomed over 1,000 companies to campus to take part in over 30 different startup programs. We’re proud to see that a lot of them have made incredible progress. In June 2018, roughly 232 of our companies had raised collectively over €250 million in funding. Approximately 10 companies to date have been acquired (8 of them are not public) — including 2 female-cofounded companies, Recast.ai and Daco.io.

Of course, in the land of startups, not everything is always glamorous — we’ve also had 19 (or approximately 2%) of our startups decide to stop their activity. You can find more numbers in our report here.

Where do we go from here?

We are just getting started. I often joke that the first year was more of a beta-test — but in fact this isn’t a joke at all. We’ve learned a ton and we are planning on making some big and bold changes in the upcoming year. Here’s a look at some of the updates you can expect to see:

  1. Build a more coherent, university-like experience for resident startups. Today, our 30 different programs on campus function completely independently from one another — and so far this has worked very well. However, we have come to realize that a startup in one program can have a radically different experience from a startup in another program. We are going to work on building a more unified, coherent experience for all startups — irrespective of their program.
  2. More campus openness. To date, we have been highly focused on our residents and our startups. Even though we have a lot of events and visits that are open to the public (see here), we want to create even more opportunities for non-residents to engage with our startups and community. Therefore, we’ll be launching a number of initiatives to address this in the upcoming year.
  3. Make campus great again. I’m sorry for this Trump-inspired phrase. But, jokes aside, we will be working on making our campus even better than it already is. We know our wifi has it’s bad moments and our carpet could be cleaner. We’ll continue focusing on correcting all the issues that our residents find problematic (thank you to everyone for their very helpful feedback!) — to see the current roadmap of what we are working on, check out our public Trello here.
  4. Provide more digital tools and resources. Today, the 2 main digital tools that our community uses are a giant Slack and HAL, our intranet (by the way, HAL V2 was launched last week and features tons of new features — we’ll tell you more soon). We’ll be looking at developing this offering for our community. We’re looking at tools that will help startups find the right program for them, tools that will help startups share tips and advice (Slack is great but it’s hard to keep up) and tools that will help startups find the best resources for their specific needs.
  5. Spotlight on our startups. You’ve heard enough about Station F, you get the point. Now we’d like to tell you more about our startups and entrepreneurs — they’re incredible people doing incredible things. We’ll be sharing much more about who is working on campus and what they are building.

STATION F community (values inside).

This is perhaps the biggest change we are making with regards to 2019. Up until now, we have been able pretty fortunate in that we promoted diversity, and diversity kind of happened for us naturally. For example, we were able to attract applicants from all over the world and we currently have 1/3 of our residents who come from abroad — including roughly 600 people who don’t speak any French. We also have some of our programs that have managed to attract lots of female founders, including the Founders Program with 40% of the companies female-founded or cofounded. For our Fighters Program we’ve also been fortunate in that we’ve had some true fighters apply and be accepted to the program.

But we want to go further — much further.

First, we’re going to be working with all of our programs to help them increase their pool of international and female applicants — ideally we’d like all programs to have 30% international and 30% female applicants minimum. We focus on applicants rather than selected companies because nobody wants to be selected for any reason other than that they are, well, excellent. But we believe that in increasing the diversity of the applicant pool, we may also increase the diversity of the startups on campus. This was the case for the Founders Program.

In addition, we’ll no longer simply be selecting startups based on business performance — but also on their values and beneficial contributions to society. Here is some of the criteria we’ll be looking for and apply to all programs:

  1. Entrepreneurs who are exemplary people who give to the community and those around them. We want to work with entrepreneurs who are not only incredible in business but who are also incredible human beings; they treat people well, they take care of their surroundings, they are respectful and kind. They share their time and resources with others not because they have to but because they want to help.
  2. Entrepreneurs who work hard and are results-driven. They know that being an entrepreneur is not a 9–5 job and requires commitment and focus. They work hard, have growth metrics to prove it, and continually push themselves and their teams.
  3. Entrepreneurs who support diversity and believe that innovation is for doing good. The people on their teams don’t all have the same profile, country of origin, socio-economic class or gender. They support diversity through and within their business. Their projects and businesses seek to make this world a better place and are respectful of people and contribute to the world we live in.
  4. Entrepreneurs who are resource hungry. They are present regularly on campus, take advantage of all the resources we provide. They participate in events, meetings & workshops that will help them get ahead. If they feel they need something more, they don’t wait for us to provide it — they come and ask.
  5. Entrepreneurs who don’t take their participation at Station F for granted. They understand that their time on campus is limited and they make the most of every day. They provide constructive feedback to the team to make the experience better for future entrepreneurs.

In the end, we are looking for killer entrepreneurs with values. Keep that in mind if you decide to apply.

Housing included.

In addition to all the changes we’re planning, we’ll also be launching an entirely new offer for our entrepreneurs: housing. Now entrepreneurs accepted to any Station F program will also be able to live in our coliving space nearby. Stay tuned for more info.

Comments? Questions? Ideas? We’re listening.

We’d love to hear from you — both Station F residents and the greater community — so hear your thoughts and ideas for our projects in 2019. Don’t hesitate to get in touch or share ideas in the comments section. And if you’d like to take it further, don’t hesitate to apply to join the team.