Orange partnered with Google to explore opportunities to fund and potentially acquire start-ups in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in areas including IoT, cybersecurity, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech.
“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. 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,” said Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange.
Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, EMEA president of Google Partnerships, said Orange’s ecosystem is consistent with Google’s know-how and its ability to accelerate the growth of start-ups.
“This partnership is a way to enhance our collective contribution to innovation in this region,” he added.
The new venture is not only an extension of Google’s other investment arms GV (formerly Google Ventures) and CapitalG, but part of its corporate development arm, which also invests in companies if they are of strategic importance, TechCrunch noted.
Marc Rennard, CEO of Orange Digital Ventures, told the publication: “From time to time, it’s difficult to have a place at the table. When a start-up decides to call for investors, they might cover all their needs from others, without any possibility of us entering too. But with Google plus Orange, I think the company will think twice before rejecting us, so it may help us.”
TechCrunch also noted that with Google under scrutiny for alleged anticompetitive practices in Europe, investing in start-ups in the region is a way of showing it supports smaller businesses.