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Orange is setting up a fund to invest in digital startups

Orange is setting up a fund to invest in digital startups

Orange has set up a Digital Ventures fund aimed at providing early-stage investment to companies developing innovative solutions around evolving strategic areas like cloud, big data, internet of things and security.

The company said Orange Digital Ventures will give the operator an opportunity to help fund startups developing technologies that could play a role in the next phase of the telecommunications sector’s evolution.

The operator will initially earmark €20m in the first year to stake minority holdings in various startups with a particular focus on companies innovating around “communication, connectivity, the cloud, payment, the Internet of Things and big data, e-Health and security services.”

“The focus of Orange Digital Ventures is on financing those start-ups working on the new and next transformations of the telecoms and digital sectors,” the company said in a statement. “Orange Digital Ventures will be more than a shareholder; it is designed to be a growth catalyst.”

The company said it intends to provide mentorship to startups it funds, which includes offering them access to technical and marketing specialists.

A number of telcos have increased their stake in funding startups over the past few years as the telecommunications sector undergoes a huge transformation in margin and technology terms, and as these firms look to bolster their position in strategic enterprise technology and services markets. A year ago to the day Telefónica and Orange were among those had announced the companies had thrown their weight behind a project led by the European Commission, the Startup Europe Partnership, to help the region’s technology startups grow into global digital firms.