Following in the footsteps of Telephonica, Orange is launching its own venture capital fund alongside Paris-based Publicis.
Telecoms giant Orange is teaming up with Publicis Groupe and Iris Capital Management to form a new venture capital investment consortium named OP Ventures.
France Telecom-Orange and advertising and communications organisation Publicis will provide €150 million (£126 million) towards the initiative meaning that, added to Iris’ pre-existing funding commitments from investors, the total investment capacity will exceed €300 million.
Three digital economy-orientated funds will be created, including: OP Ventures Growth (targeting established companies in France and Europe with up to €15 million), OP Ventures Global (investing in start-ups outside Europe with similar capital amounts) and OP Ventures Early Stage (providing seed capital and early stage investment up to €3 million).
Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of France Telecom-Orange, comments, ‘This joint venture with Publicis Groupe and Iris is a pioneer in its field. It complements Orange’s considerable effort in terms of research and development, and it will encourage the emergence of future leaders of the digital economy by bringing them funds at several stages of their development.
Under the terms of the joint venture Orange and Publicis will each acquire a minority 24.5 per cent interest in Paris-based Iris, with Iris’ management team retaining a 51 per cent stake. The venture will continue to be run by Pierre de Fouquet and Antoine Garrigues.
Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of Publicis, says that already a lot of companies are ‘eagerly’ anticipating the new project.
He adds, ‘This is clear from the number of requests we’ve already received. We’ve been keen to set up OP Ventures on strong foundations, and we’ve decided to partner with Iris because of the depth of their knowledge and their successful track record.’
The European Investment Fund and CDC Enterprises are also contributing to the project.