FT-Orange commits to digital VC funds

France Telecom-Orange has announced it is contributing to the creation of three venture capital funds dedicated exclusively to digital companies.

The France-based operator will partner with media group Publicis and investment firm Iris Capital Management to provide a combined total investment of over €300 million.

A growth fund that will target established companies in France and Europe and a global fund that will invest in start-ups outside Europe are already operational.

An early stage fund to provide seed-capital and early-stage investment to young companies in France and Europe will launch during Q2 this year.

“This joint initiative with Publicis Groupe and Iris is a pioneer in its field,” commented Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of FT-Orange.

Orange and Publicis Groupe will each acquire a minority 24.5 percent interest while Iris will retain the remainder.

Gervais Pellissier, deputy CEO of FT-Orange, will serve as deputy chairman of the funds' supervisory board.

“The financial contribution and value-added that Orange and Publicis Groupe will bring to this initiative will considerably reinforce our ability to accompany budding companies in the digital economy,” commented Iris managing partners Antoine Garrigues and Pierre de Fouquet.

Iris has recently invested in online games monetisation platform Mediastay, search-engine optimisation company Searchmetrics and specialist payment technology solutions company Clear2Pay.

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