F . Station, the iconic startup campus in Paris, is completely revamping its Founders Program to make it an acceleration program. Founders who decide to join the accelerator get many different benefits. They will also have to hand out a 1% equity stake to Station F.
“We are changing the flagship program of Station F. Everything changes except the name,” said Roxanne Varza, director of Station F.
With the Founders Program, Station F is looking for entrepreneurs who: only to work. Even if these teams haven’t necessarily found a product-market match, they can apply to participate in the program.
Of course, the first thing these startups get when they join the Founders Program is an office space at Station F. After that, they start an intensive program of 6 weeks with workshops and classes. For example, they learn about building a startup team and fitting the product to the market.
After that, startups are given another six weeks to iterate and execute. After this initial phase, they pitch to everyone. Startups will then stay at Station F for another 12 months. At the end of the program, they will pitch their startup again.
The new Founders Program will last a total of 15 months, which is much longer than the original Founders Program. “With short programs, startups want to stay and we spend too much time on change and logistics,” Varza said.
To stay focused on these startups, Station F is shrinking the size of the Founders Program. Station F was able to accept up to 200 startups with its old Founders Program. It now aims to accept 25 startups into the Founders Program with two batches per year.
Station F tries to match every startup with an advisor who is very practical. For example, some advisors are the founders of Alan, Swile and The Sandbox. Station F advises startups to incentivize the advisor by adding them to the cap table. It may vary depending on the advisor, but Station F recommends at least 0.2% equity.
The startup campus is already running a first batch with 21 different companies. These companies are focused on four industries: web3, fintech, impact and creator economy. Verticals will change in future batches.
And yes, Station F is taking shares in those startups for the first time. “Initially, we want to remain founder-friendly. Some people told us it’s not much, others say it’s a lot,” Varza said.
“But Station F is not here to take 50% of the equity. We just want to prove that we have skin in the game and that we will stay involved,” she added.
Station F relies a lot on personal recommendations from other people in the tech ecosystem. The internal team then screens the applications to choose some startups. The applications for the next batch will start at the end of November.
There are also other programs on campus and partnerships with other companies so they can run their own program at Station F. All other programs remain unchanged.