Xavier Niel is among the richest males in France, with a web price of $eight.1 billion. Niel is making an attempt to alter France’s buttoned-down, conventional enterprise tradition right into a tradition the place tech and web startups will thrive. He spent $50 million and based a free coding college referred to as 42 in Paris in 2013. He opened one other department of 42 in Silicon Valley in 2016. In June 2017, he launched Station F, the most important startup incubator on this planet. The Station F campus is the dimensions of six American soccer fields. It has 1,000 startups working underneath one roof. Right exterior of Station F, residences for 600 entrepreneurs, a few resorts, and a restaurant are being constructed.
Luckily, France’s President Emmanuel Macron is onboard with Niel’s imaginative and prescient of the nation as a hotbed of entrepreneurs. Over the previous 12 months, Macron has loosened labor legal guidelines and mentioned the nation is open to disruption. This is in stark distinction to the fame the nation has historically had as a nasty place to do enterprise. Niel and Macron try to alter this and transfer their nation into the 21stcentury.
France has been laying the groundwork for this for many years. Back within the 1980s, the nation had all the things it wanted to grow to be a tech mecca. France had the web earlier than another nation. In 1982, roughly 10 years earlier than the remainder of the world bought on-line, the French had been utilizing a free system from France Telecom referred to as Minitel to get onto the World Wide Web. Every single French family was given a Minitel system. At its hottest, 25 million French residents had been turning on their Minitel terminal to order groceries and test the climate. Time logged into the Minitel system was charged by the minute on the person’s telephone invoice.
Neil was a teen when all of this was taking place. He solid his dad’s signature to get a second telephone line on the Minitel when he was 17. He then used the dial up community to talk to different folks. This led to him growing Minitel Rose at 19, a chat service for cybersex. Minitel Rose grew to become some of the profitable chat providers on the community. He had a profitable income sharing mode that wasn’t all that completely different from what Apple, Android, and Google iOS use in the present day. When he was 22, Niel purchased the Minitel service, Pon Editions, for two,000 francs. Two years later, he bought it for $1.6 million.
Unfortunately, by this time, the Minitel was failing. The World Wide Web had launched and brought off globally. Looking to the United States for inspiration, Niel co-founded Worldnet in 1994. It was France’s first web service. He bought Worldnet in 2000, on the peak of the primary dot com increase, for greater than $50 million.
In 1999, he based Free, a French ISP that’s truly free. Basic service is supplied for gratis, however customers can improve to a sooner broadband connection for a really low worth.
In 2010, Niel co-founded Kima Ventures, a fund with a mission to put money into 50 to 100 startups a 12 months in all places on this planet. As of August 2014, Kima Ventures had already invested in 300 firms in 32 completely different international locations, making Niel some of the lively angel traders on this planet.
Attracting entrepreneurs for Station F comes right down to branding and Niel hopes that President Macron continues to push his message that France is open for enterprise. If he does, a number of the subsequent hottest startups might come out of Niel’s incubator.