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Station F: a made in France high tech campus with European ambition

4 minutes
After four years of work, Xavier Niel opened at the end of June, in Paris, the gigantic Parisian campus, Station F (34 000m²) dedicated to young tech savvy’s. During the inauguration, Emmanuel Macron was, of course, present. His participation didn’t go unnoticed and echoed a statement that he gave a couple of weeks earlier during Viva Technology announcing a funding of 10 billion euros: The French Tech Visa.


BNP Paribas is quite involved in the Station F project, acting as the bank and insurance partner and installing its own start-up acceleration program: Plug and Play BNP Paribas.

To know more about this great project, we met with Myriam Bèque, [Innovation development manager at BNP Paribas Banque de Détail and head of WAI by BNP Paribas] and Laurent Herbillon [Startups Cooperation director at BNP Paribas International Financial Services] who built this partnership. 


The BNP Paribas group became a privileged partner at the launch of this program. What are the main principles of this partnership? 

« Station F has 21 start-up programs dedicated to various industries and topics. We are working on FinTech / Assurtech topics with support from the Plug and Play program co-created by BNP Paribas

It’s also an opportunity to reassert BNP Paribas positioning as a banking partner of startups via our service WAI Banking (regardless of whether they operate in Fintech or Assurtech says Myriam). We fund new economy and offer differentiated services depending on their maturity mode. 

Ultimately, supporting startups at Station F enables us to promote our online banking system Hello Bank, which is specifically adapted to digital workers. »


Station F has the ambition to become a European leader when it comes to accompanying startups during their development: in that respect, where does that leave the group BNP?

« As the European Bank of Startups, at BNP Paribas we are delighted to be part of this ambitious project, which is hosted in France. In this respect, it’s also very interesting that European and international dimensions are strongly incorporated in this project because it is totally in line with our DNA»


In your eyes, what does the F stand for in Station F?

« For me personally, beyond « Founders, Fun, Freyssinet, Fellow, Freedom, Funding » which are at the origins of the choice of the letter F, it also stands for “Forward” because we are moving forward! »


Focus: the BNP Paribas program « Plug and Play » and its key principles

How does this program, within Station F, enable BNP Paribas to overcome a new stage of its digital transformation?

« International Retail Banking and IFS have been working together since 2015 with Plug and Play, an innovation platform which has accompanied startups for over ten years. At the end of 2016, we spread this agreement, covering the whole of the BNP Paribas group and all of Plug & Plays installations. We also created a Fintech and Insurtech program in Paris. These new programs will benefit from the unique dynamics of Station F.

At the heart of the “program” zone, this new platform steered by Hélène Mouly (IFS BNP Paribas) and Omeed Mehrinfar (Plug and Play) will benefit from a space of 40 offices. The first season of the program ended on the 11th of July, where startups and trades showcased their achievements. These trades selected 10 new startups which will be set up in September for the second season of Station F.

These partnerships are part of our open innovation strategy to boost the digital transformation of the BNP Paribas group. Our ambition is to expand the implementation of POC (proof of concept) and MVP (Minimum Viable Product, which meet the challenges of professions and duties such as Risk and Compliance, and to industrialize them thereafter.

For BNP Paribas, being here at Station F encourages synergy between startups, our trades and the other partners of Station F. Via Plug and Play, we get the Silicon Valley to come to Paris and vice versa seen as we will export the French Tech to California! »


Over and above Station F, we can see a true French dynamic based on technological innovation

Facebook « likes » French startups. Indeed, even the GAFA are observing France and identify the country as a fertile ground for innovation and research.

It’s not a coincidence if Facebook opened 2 years ago its very own research laboratory of “artificial intelligence” in Paris. It’s the first one set up outside of the USA: a strong and encouraging message for French startups. We met one of the research managers, Antoine Bordes, at Facebook, who spoke to the Echangeur:

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