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PARIS, June 15 (Reuters) - South Korea’s Naver Corp plans to open a startup incubator in the new Paris mega-campus for start-ups ‘Station F’ that has been funded by billionaire Xavier Niel, said Fleur Pellerin, founder of venture capital investor Korelya Capital.
The move is the latest sign of international interest in the French start-ups scene, which is gaining traction, after Facebook picked the same Paris campus as the site of its first ever start-ups incubator earlier this year.
Dubbed “Space Green”, the Korean-funded incubator is slated to welcome about 10 early-stage European companies in a 300 square-meter space with 80 desks.
“There’s a wish to contribute to the European ecosystem, because there’s a belief that big tech champions can emerge in Europe,” said Pellerin.
Korean-born Pellerin, a former French digital economy minister, is credited with launching the “French Tech” initiative in the early years of ex-President Francois Hollande’s mandate, which put the country’s burgeoning tech scene on the map.
The Station F campus was built with 250 million euros ($281 million) in funds from Niel and is in the southeastern part of the French capital, a stone’s throw away from the river Seine.
It aims to be the world’s biggest startup campus with 34,000 square meters of space and plans to house 1,000 start-ups under its 1920s glass arcades, as well as bars and restaurants open 24 hours a day.
Naver, which operates South Korea’s biggest search engine, and Japanese subsidiary Line Corp, a popular messaging app in southeast Asia, each invested 50 million euros last year in K-Fund 1, a venture fund steered by Korelya Capital.
$1 = 0.8912 euros Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Michel Rose and Sudip Kar-Gupta