Facebook is planning to open its first startup incubator in Paris, The Financial Times (FT) reports.
The incubator will be run out of a new €250 million (£219 million) startup campus called Station F, which is due to be the largest in the world when it opens in April.
Roxanne Varza, the director of Station F, said that Facebook was going to move in at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London last December but details of the arrangement are only now coming to light.
Facebook will reportedly provide 80 desks and space for 10-15 independent startups at the incubator, which has been called Startup Garage. It will not take any equity in the businesses it chooses to support.
“France is home to some of the most innovative technology companies in the world,” said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, according to the FT. “We’re excited to support a new generation of French startups with enormous potential to grow the economy and create jobs.”
Funded by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel, Station F is being developed in a former train station that was built in 1929. The company plans to house over 1,000 startups, who will be charged €195 a month. The 32,000 square metre space will also contain a restaurant, a bar, and a “makerspace”.
The incubator marks Facebook’s second major investment in France. The social media giant announced an AI lab in Paris last June.
“We chose Paris for this expansion because France is home to some of the best researchers in the world,” Facebook wrote at the time. “We think the FAIR [Facebook AI Research] Paris team will bring valuable expertise and new perspectives to our work, and we plan to work openly with and invest in the AI research community in France, the EU, and beyond as we strive to make meaningful progress in these fields.”
. @sherylsandberg announce un “Facebook Garage” au coeur de #StationF @Paris pour mentorer et soutenir les startups data. #DataDriven pic.twitter.com/3MjAwMVlEz
— Helene Allaire (@HeleneON) January 17, 2017