Orange reworks VC entity, looks beyond seed funding
The Orange Digital Ventures portfolio has been folded into Orange Ventures as the latter was confirmed as a legally independent entity with a multi-million Euro budget.
Based out of offices in Paris and Dakar, Orange Ventures is now a separate legal entity to the rest of the Orange Group and has been granted an investment budget of €350 million as it looks beyond the seed funding it previously specialised in and focuses on multiple markets "from seed stage start-ups in Africa and the Middle East, to more mature companies in Europe and the United States".
Jérôme Berger (pictured), formerly CEO of Orange Ventures, has taken on the role of president and managing partner, with a dedicated 20-strong team. The team has been strengthened with "established experts from the venture capital industry".
Berger said: "Our wish is to constitute an organisation which combines the best of both worlds: Orange's business expertise as well as the agility of decision-making and the quality of the financial monitoring of the best investment funds.
"We closely support each start-up post-investment in order to contribute to its development and facilitate its direct and structured access to the Orange ecosystem whenever it is relevant," he continued.
With investment tickets up to €20 million per financing round, Orange Ventures is already among the top 10 corporate venture capital funds in Europe. Its legal independence is expected to "empower" the business to be "more agile and competitive in seeking out and supporting the best start-up talent worldwide".
Orange Ventures will focus on investments around connectivity, cybersecurity, the digital enterprise and "innovative financial services". These activities will go hand in hand with investments in emerging areas Orange is exploring, for example e-health.
Organised into three streams, activity will cover:
Global champions – US and EU based software and tech start-ups. This includes mature startups looking for access to European/MEA markets, scale up startups showing vast potential for synergies with the group or earlier stage disruptive startups already identified within Orange ecosystem.
Middle East and Africa Champions – with broad tech investment scope, MEA Champions focuses on supporting founders with "amazing execution capabilities" building category-defining businesses in areas of Orange group expertise and beyond with pan African or global scaling potential.
Middle East and Africa Seed – A special initiative addressing Seed companies to support the visionary entrepreneurs of Africa's tech ecosystem at earlier stages.