Orange has launched an “early stage” investment program branded Orange Digital Ventures to identify and fund start-ups during their initial development in markets it operates including in Europe and Africa.
Orange Digital Ventures will focus on financing start-ups working on the new and next transformations of the telecoms and digital sectors especially those aimed at improving communication, connectivity, the cloud, payment, the Internet of Things and big data, e-Health and security services.
The firm has earmarked $23 million (20 million Euros) for its first year to invest in startups for minority holdings and help the startups in their global expansion as an investor and catalyst.
Last year, Orange Fab launched in Ivory Coast to facilitate the development of start-ups in the Ivorian economic system. Orange Fab just like Digital Ventures aim to support, internationally, the growth of start-ups.
The firm selected four startups which were accelerated for 3 months and exposed to valuable mentoring of fifty coaches, including Orange mentors, entrepreneurs and local academics to build their products and businesses. The startups also had access to Orange’s testing center in Abidjan and Orange’s APIs and 15 euros in a convertible note. This new program is expected to be even bigger and better.