Orange's digital innovation arm partners with Google to finance startups

By Johan De Mulder

Orange and Google have teamed up to become a major financial backer for promising technology startups in Europe.

Through its 'Digital Ventures' programme, French telco Orange provides corporate funding for some of the brightest business ideas on the market - and now Google has sensed an opportunity to get involved.

The pair will co-operate on investment opportunities across the continent and also in Africa and the Middle East, specialising in the fields of new connectivities, IoT, cybersecurity, cloud, AI and fintech. Management teams from each company will liaise regularly to examine investment opportunities and 'accelerate the dynamics of open innovation' at Orange.

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"We are very proud to announce this partnership which will enable startups supported by Orange Digital Ventures to explore potential co-investment opportunities with Google," said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange.

"We are delighted to support Orange's ecosystem of startups and innovation and to explore alongside them opportunities for co-investment in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA)," added Carlo d'Asaro Biondo, EMEA President of Google Partnerships. "Orange's ecosystem is consistent with Google's know-how and our ability to accelerate the growth of startsups. This partnership is a way to enhance our collective contribution to innovation in this region."

According to its website, Orange Digital Ventures promises to commit up to €150mn to a startup within its first year of operations, ranking it among the major venture capital firms in Europe.

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