Station F launches a co-living space for 600 startup people

Startup campus Station F is expanding beyond its original building in Paris with a co-living space called Flatmates. 600 people will be able to rent a room in shared apartments.

Compared to traditional accommodation in Paris, it’s much easier to get a room as you don’t need a French full-time work contract, guarantors and all the stupid stuff that landlords and professionals ask you — trust me, it’s a nightmare in Paris.

Standard room 2 Crédits STATION F Benoit Florencon

Station F says that it is the biggest co-living space in Europe. Flatmates is actually three different buildings designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Just like Station F, French billionaire Xavier Niel is the owner.

There are 100 different apartments, which represent 600 rooms in total. You get to share the living room, kitchen and sometimes bathroom with other Station F members.

In addition to these common areas, there are multiple services accessible to Flatmates residents. You can access a café, a grocery store, a gym, a laundry, a lounge and an event space. There are also car and bike parking spaces.

Here’s a gallery of photos (click to expand):

Everything has been designed to be a seamless experience for Station F members. For instance, you can unlock your room with your Station F badge — you don’t need a traditional key.

Flatmates is located in Ivry-sur-Seine, the city outside of Paris closest to Station F. It’s not the most charming location (1 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau) as you’re surrounded by train tracks, highways and malls.

Screen Shot 2019 06 26 at 1.38.55 PM

But it’s convenient if all you plan to do is work at Station F and sleep at Flatmates. Citymapper says that it takes roughly 25 minutes to go to Station F by bus, or 15 minutes by bike.

When it comes to rent, you can get a standard room with a shared bathroom for €399 per month. A premium room with a private bathroom costs €549 per month. And a couple room with a private bathroom and a dressing costs €799 per month.

If you’re a Station F member, you can access the application form from Station F’s intranet. Flatmates has partnered with Whoomies to match up residents based on your eating habits, interests and personality. It’s going to be interesting to see if people end up staying just a few months or much longer if they feel at home.

Onboarding Flatmates HAL

Onboarding Flatmates personality

Onboarding Flatmates interests

Onboarding Flatmates eating

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Host your country’s startup delegation at Disrupt Berlin 2019

Creative technology and innovative ideas know no boundaries, which is why thousands of early-stage startup founders, investors, innovators and entrepreneurs — from more than 50 countries — will convene at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December.

In keeping with an international focus, we’re searching for countries that want to shine a spotlight on their best and brightest early-stage startups. Email the events team to apply for a Country Pavilion and bring your delegation to exhibit in Startup Alley.

The exhibition floor — the epicenter of opportunity — features hundreds of dynamic startups displaying their technology, products, platforms and services. Hosting a Country Pavilion in Startup Alley gives you the chance to showcase your country’s emerging startups and to be recognized as a world leader in technology.

Jana Rosenfelder, co-founder and COO of Actijoy, exhibited in a Startup Alley country pavilion sponsored by Czech Invest — a governmental agency that supports startups by defraying conference costs. The following year, Actijoy earned a TC Top Pick spot at Disrupt San Francisco 2018.

“TechCrunch Disrupt is one of the best startup conferences,” said Rosenfelder. “It’s so well organized, and the media exposure is much better than at other events. Startup Alley’s a great place for startups to network for leads, investors, industry contacts and partnerships.”

Here’s what you need to know about hosting a County Pavilion. Your delegation can consist of international startup groups, government innovation centers, incubators and accelerators. All startups must be less than two years old and have secured less than $2.5 million in funding.

Still with us? Good. Next, simply email the events team and tell us which country or region you want to highlight at Disrupt Berlin. We also want to know a bit about the startups in your delegation. The events team will contact you with a price quote.

Did you know that all startups exhibiting in Startup Alley — including pavilions — have a chance to be voted the Wild Card company? The Wild Card winner gets a shot to compete in Startup Battlefield, TechCrunch’s epic pitch competition with a $50,000 cash prize.

True story: RecordGram won the Wild Card at Disrupt NY ’17. The next day it competed in Startup Battlefield and went on to win the whole shebang. Pretty amazing stuff, right there.

You can get in on the exhibition action of Startup Alley even if you’re not part of a country delegation. Simply purchase a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package for €745 + VAT, and that price includes three Founder passes.

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Come and showcase your country’s best and brightest startups to the world. Email us about reserving your country pavilion today.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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WeGift, the digital rewards platform, raises £4M Series A

WeGift, the U.K. startup that has developed a platform to let businesses easily issue e-gift cards and other digital rewards, has closed £4 million in Series A funding.

Leading the round is Stride.VC — the relatively new early-stage venture capital firm founded by Fred Destin and Harry Stebbings — alongside a number of other investors including including SAP.iO fund, Unilever Ventures, James Hind (founder of Carwow,) and Eamon Jubbawy (co-founder of Onfido).

The startup’s previous backers include Alex Chesterman, Charlie Songhurst, Simon Franks, Ascension Ventures, and Fuel Ventures.

“Currently payments are a one way street,” WeGift founder and CEO Aron Alexander tells TechCrunch. “Payments technology is built to enable businesses to take money from consumers but it doesn’t let businesses send money to consumers.

“We’ve created a new category of digital non-cash rewards to power customer acquisition, retention and loyalty globally: the ‘Twilio for e-gift cards’”.

Alexander says that historically businesses would offer a physical reward to power these use cases. For example, “open a bank account and get a free toaster (for my generation it was a free Filofax). In comparison, he says that e-gift cards are more appealing to consumers because they’re “easier to deliver than merchandise, they don’t get lost in the mail and they can spend it on what they want”.

There are upsides for the businesses handing out digital rewards, too. They include bulk percentage discounts when purchasing e-gift cards from retailers, and negating the need to ask for a customer’s bank account details. Most importantly, says Alexander, “you can track how they affect the customer journey”.

However, the problem with using e-gift cards at scale is that the technology infrastructure to automate orders and delivery is missing, meaning that it remains quite a manual process that often falls back on emails, CSV files and PDFs “This is what we are changing… [by automating] the issuing process of non-cash rewards,” explains the WeGift founder.

The resulting WeGift cloud-based platform offers an open API to enable businesses to automate sending digital rewards, on-demand and in real-time. “We give them instant access to a huge choice of rewards and payouts, an ever-growing network of more than 500 brand partners, across 26 markets and 20 currencies, in real-time,” adds Alexander.

Stride.VC’s Destin says digital rewards is a “messy, fragmented industry with broken processes, prone to errors and leakage, aged technology stacks and plenty of misalignment and distrust between the players”. It is also an industry dominated in the U.S. by two incumbents with a legacy in the physical gift card space and therefore ripe for disruption.

“The business model is well understood,” writes Destin, in a Medium post. “Think Stripe, applied to non-cash payouts. Robust APIs, real-time capabilities, disruptive pricing, transparency”.

Meanwhile, WeGift says the Series A will enable the company to deliver on its vision of create “the world’s first” real-time infrastructure for digital rewards and incentives. Specifically, the funding will be used to further scale WeGift’s operations, support expansion to the U.S, and to continue investing in its technology platform.

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