Telefonica has launched an international network of technology-focused venture capital funds called amerigo.
The network is launching with €300 million of investment; the Spain-based operator itself has promised to commit €68 million over the next five years.
Amérigo will initially focus on Latin America, with Telefónica saying it wants to focus on driving innovation outside the traditional hubs of Silicon Valley and London.
Specifically, the company cited Colombia, Chile and Brazil as the countries in which it will begin work due to the existing support of governments, public financial institutions and private partners there.
It will also focus on its home market of Spain, where it has already made investments in five local technology companies.
Telefónica is increasingly reliant on Latin America for growth, but as European Communications reported in July, revenues in the region are struggling to cover for the poor performance of its European businesses.
Looking ahead, Telefónica said the aim is for Amérigo to become a key source of financing for technology entrepreneurs around the world.
Amérigo will be “promoted” by Telefónica Digital, which was established last year to drive growth in emerging technologies.
“We have long understood that to succeed we need to understand and embrace the digital innovation ecosystem, recognising that great ideas can come from anywhere. This has driven our investment in initiatives such as Campus Party and Wayra,” commented Key.
“Amérigo marks the next stage in this strategy as we seek to combine the funding power of private and public funds to create a real engine for stimulating technology innovation.”
Telefónica said fund managersdesignated to coordinate the financial resources in each market will identify and promote high potential companies with an initial investment of approximately €1 million.