Facebook to open startup incubator in Paris, will boost AI

January 22, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Facebook to open startup incubator in Paris, will boost AI
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the social network has become a founding partner in Station F, a €250m start-up campus in central Paris, created in a former railway depot and rehabilitated to become the largest start-up campus in the world when it opens in April.

In an event held in Station F last week, Sandberg has launched an initiative Facebook calls Startup Garage, which will provide 80 desks and working space for 10-15 independent start-ups in the data economy.

According to a report from the Financial Times, Facebook will not take equity in any of the chosen companies, but instead provide expertise to get them off the ground. The new incubator will be its second major investment in Paris, following the opening of its only European artificial intelligence lab in 2015.

“France is home to some of the most innovative technology companies in the world,” said Sandberg during the launch event. “We’re excited to support a new generation of French start-ups with enormous potential to grow the economy and create jobs.”

Although Facebook has previously run digital start-up mentorship programmes, this is the first physical space that the company will occupy and run as an accelerator, similar to rival Google’s campus spaces in London, Madrid, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and São Paulo, notes the Financial Times.

Facebook is inviting startups to apply via the Startup Garage Facebook page.

On its webpage - https://stationf.co, the Station F campus advertises 34,000 square meters of space and over 3000 desks in the startup zone, encompassing 26 international startup programs, one makerspace, a restaurant, four kitchens a café and a bar. Eight event spaces complete the package, for a €195 monthly fee per desk for full-time residency and program. It will be open 24/7.

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