France Télécom-Orange and the Publicis Groupe advertising business are planning to launch a new venture capital fund. The fund - which is starting with a 150 million Euro (£129 million) investment from the two companies - will help budding entrepreneurs in Europe’s digital economy. Additional funding from other investors is expected to bring total funding to 300 million Euro.
A management company will be responsible for the new fund, with investment decisions made by a committee that’s independent of France Telecom-Orange and Publicis Groupe. The main targets for investment will be companies focusing on digital technology, content and services - such as online marketing, e-commerce, mobile content, mobile services, online gaming and social networks - along with associated technologies and infrastructures.
Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of France Telecom-Orange, said “French investment capital has been suffering for far too long from the absence of a solid ecosystem to link young companies together with larger groups, research centers and government systems. We’re very happy to be working with Publicis Groupe to finance and support digital start-up projects. This is a surging growth market and it’s an important challenge: our job will be to contribute to the emergence of tomorrow’s leaders. From the point of view of France Télécom-Orange, the new fund complements our investments in R&D, as well as creating a terrific opportunity to be present at the birth of growth projects.”