Photograph — AB2020

Orange, one of the world’s leading telecom operators is collaborating with Google through its corporate venture fund, Orange Digital Ventures (ODV), to finance the best start-ups in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This partnership is a match made in heaven as both companies are globally invested in the support of organizations and start-ups that use technology and innovation to power economies.

ODV was created three years ago with a €150 million fund to make minority stake investments into early-stage start-ups. Run by a team of digital experts, its focus is to seek out and invest in cutting-edge innovations and start-ups in the tech-digital space around the world. Through this collaboration, Google will leverage on the group’s expertise to explore opportunities for co-investments in EMEA.

Both teams will jointly evaluate new business models and investment opportunities in the fields of new connectivities, cybersecurity, AI, IoT, cloud and FinTech in the specified regions. According to the published announcement, there will be regular coordination meetings between the management teams of both companies to examine investment opportunities around start-ups in the required fields.

“We are very proud to announce this partnership which will enable start-ups supported by Orange Digital Ventures to explore potential co-investment opportunities with Google,” said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange. “Through this partnership, we stand to reinforce Orange Digital Ventures’ “Smart Money” value-proposition by offering entrepreneurs with whom we work much more than just financing.”

Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, President of Google Partnerships, EMEA said Google is delighted to support Orange’s ecosystem of start-ups and innovation and to explore alongside them opportunities for co-investment in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “Orange’s ecosystem is consistent with Google’s know-how and our ability to accelerate the growth of start-ups. This partnership is a way to enhance our collective contribution to innovation in this region,” he said.

About Orange

  • It is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2017 and 152,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2018.
  • It is present in eight European countries and 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, with a total customer base of 273 million customers worldwide as at 31 March 2018.
  • 70 percent of the group’s consolidated revenues were generated in Europe in 2016, 45 percent of which is from France.
  • In 2016, Orange Middle East and Africa generated revenues of €5.2 billion while serving more than 120 million customers.
  • Orange Money, its flagship service for money transfers and mobile financial services, has over 37 million customers in 17 countries. It recorded $14.5 billion worth of transactions in 2016.
  • It supports over 500 start-ups around the world with €700 million invested in research and innovations.
  • The group’s strategy in Africa and the Middle East is to position itself as a leader in digital transformation and to bring its international expertise to support the development of new digital services.
  • Orange is the 51st most valuable brand in the world and the 8th most valuable telecom brand in the world.


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