The Silicon Sentier, the association behind LeCamping, La Cantine & more, has presented a lovely gift to the Paris startup scene, announcing recently that it will be moving into a new 1500m² space in the middle of Paris’ well-defined startup neighborhood (UPDATE: It will be located at 39 rue de Caire, 75002 Paris). The space, which will replace the current, packed La Cantine space, will continue many of the functions that the current La Cantine space fills – barcamps, events, hackathons and the like, as well as CoWorking, of course. The space, who’s budget exceeds 2.4 Million euros, will be funded by both public and private groups (as is often the case in the Silicon Sentier); in the private space, Google France has committed 1 Million € to financing the project, as announced by Nicholas Rauline in Les Echos this morning.
The announcement of this project comes at a time where Paris needs a central event space – La Cantine has always been nice, but not well suited for big events, and we wrote that TheFamily, an accelerator founded by LeCamping’s program manager, will be looking for an events space in the area. At the same time, we have the French government, who has announced its intentions to destroy the Paris startup scene at all cost, though specifically I’m referring to their most recent plans to build a Paris equivalent of Campus London/Tech City; the problem, in this instance (other than the fact that UK Tech City’s “success” or lack there of has been quite controversial) is that, while UK Tech City falls smack dab in the middle of London’s Shoreditch neighborhood (The SIlicon Roundabout, as they call it), Paris Capitale Startup has been rumored to be positioned in the southern suburbs of Paris. This location, in addition to having approximately 0 startup activity currently, would be very inconvenient to visit for international investors flying in through Charles de Gaulle airport – not that taking the RER into Paris from CDG has ever been an enjoyable experience.
Silicon Sentier has been quite active in the ecosystem, and their continued support with semi-public, semi-private money continues to push the limits of how government can support innovation in an appropriate way. You can follow the evolution of the project on its website, set to open in September 2013, and there is a meeting next Thursday to get input from the community.