Station F is turning a major startup into an accelerator • TechCrunch

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Station F, the iconic startup campus in Paris, is completely revamping its founder program to turn it into an acceleration program. Founders who choose to join the accelerator will receive many different benefits. They must also transfer 1% of the shares to Station F.

“We’re changing the core program of Station F. Everything is changing except the name,” Station F director Roxanne Varza told me.

As part of the Founders Program, Station F is looking for entrepreneurs who simply the beginning. Even if these teams haven’t necessarily found product-market fit, they can still apply for the program.

Of course, the first thing these startups get when they join the Founders Program is office space at Station F. They’ll then begin an intensive 6-week program of workshops and classes. For example, they learn about startup team building and product market fit.

After that, startups get another six weeks to iterate and execute. After this initial phase, they perform in front of everyone. The startups then stay at Station F for another 12 months. At the end of the program, they present their startup again.

The new Founders Program lasts 15 months, significantly longer than the original Founders Program. “With short programs, startups want to stay, and we spend too much time on changeovers and logistics,” Varza said.

To focus on these startups, Station F is actually reducing the size of the Founders Program. Station F can host up to 200 startups with its legacy founder program. It now aims to admit 25 startups to the Founders Program in two batches per year.

Station F tries to match each startup with a consultant who will be very hands-on. For example, some advisors include the founders of Alan, Swile and The Sandbox. Station F encourages startups to incentivize an advisor by adding them to the cap table. It can vary by advisor, but Station F recommends at least 0.2% of equity.

The startup campus is already running with its first batch of 21 different companies. These companies are focused on four verticals — web3, fintech, impact and the creative economy. Verticals will change in later batches.

And, yes, Station F is participating in these startups for the first time. “First, we want to stay 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 get 50% equity. We just want to prove that we have skin in the game and that we will continue to practice,” she added.

Station F relies heavily on personal recommendations from others in the tech ecosystem. An internal team then reviews the applications to select some startups. Applications for the next batch will be accepted at the end of November.

There are also other programs on campus, as well as partnering with other companies to run their own programming at Station F. All other programming remains the same.

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