Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Orange Digital Ventures launches EUR 50m investment in Africa

Global telco Orange announced it is strengthening its corporate venture strategy with the creation of a new Africa section within its program for investment in start-ups, Orange Digital Ventures.

As part of the initiative, the group is committing Euro 50 million of funding, corresponding to around half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa program, with the other half devoted to indirect investments through specialised funding for Africa.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa will serve as Orange Group's investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivity, financial technology (fintech), the Internet of Things (IoT), energy and e-health. The program will target start-ups developing solutions to Africa's fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator's assets on the continent. Support will target start-ups based geographically in Africa and those based elsewhere but addressing African issues.

A dedicated team to be based in Dakar, Senegal will be set up to support the program in September this year to meet start-ups' requirements. Orange noted that the new initiative is a key part of its commitment in Africa, a growth area where currently nearly one in ten inhabitants is an Orange customer.

The latest initiative supports Orange's existing open innovation initiatives in Africa, which include the Orange Fabs in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal and BIG in Jordan designed to facilitate partnerships with the start-ups. In addition, Orange maintains a network of partner incubators such as CTIC in Dakar, provides Orange APIs on the continent and offers the Orange Social Venture Prize recognising social entrepreneurs in Africa.

  • Earlier this year, Orange announced that, as a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and together with Facebook, it would launch the Orange Fab France Telecom Track accelerator, designed to support start-ups focused on network infrastructure development. Through the initiative, selected start-ups are mentored by Orange and provided with access to its global resources, as well as support from TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Centres (TEAC) and Facebook.