This article was initially published on www.succeedinparisregion.com.
Incubators developed by major players in the banking and insurance sector are proliferating in Paris.
Last year, Crédit Agricole, a major bank, opened an “Innovation Village” in its prestigious Parisian building at 55 rue La Boétie. Covering 5,000 m² (54,000 ft²) on eight floors, the center can accommodate an incubator for 100 young innovative companies, partner companies (Microsoft, HP, etc.), as well as exhibition and training spaces. This environment will promote the startups’ growth via support from ISEs and large businesses that are customers of Crédit Agricole. The objective is to open similar “villages” throughout France, supported by regional funds.
BNP-Paribas, another major bank, has a similar program, investing in the “Silicon Sentier” (Silicon Trail) district. It opened a “We Are Innovation” (WAI) space in the center of Paris, and another on the plateau de Saclay (an area south of Paris that has become known as the European Silicon Valley), for a total of 300 seats in an area of over 3,000 m² (32,000 ft²) to house start-ups. Some companies, like Bureaux A Partager (BAP), have already set up shop. The Paris WAI also conducts an “acceleration” program. For six months, ISEs that are clients of BNP-Paribas work in pairs with selected startups to develop joint projects. The “Atelier BNP-Paribas” is a go-between to facilitate and streamline relationships and communication between startups and the huge BNP-Paribas structure.
Finally, Covéa, the insurance group that combines GMF, MAAF and MMA, has high expectations for the incubator dedicated to the connected home that it created in 2014. Operated by an agency of the city of Paris and co-financed by the insurer, this incubator hosts startups selected through a call for applications.