Orange peels off venture capital arm as a separate entity

Paris, France-based Orange announced on Monday that it has spun off its venture capital arm, Orange Ventures, with an increased allocation of $426 million (€350 million).

With the spin-off, Orange Ventures hopes to attract interest from start-ups as well as investments from third-party investors. Peeling off Orange Ventures from Orange also puts up a firewall between the two companies as Orange Ventures engages confidentially with startups, which could boost start-ups' confidence in engaging with Orange Ventures.

"For Orange, the purpose of Orange Ventures is to promote the emergence of future technological champions who support the transition to an increasingly digital and responsible world, at the service of all, by sharing their innovation capabilities with its 256 million customers worldwide," Orange said in Monday's press release. "To achieve this, Orange Ventures differentiates by proposing a highly structured process for exploring and creating flexible and optional synergies between Orange and start-ups.

Orange Ventures invests in many of the same tech verticals that Orange uses, including connectivity, cybersecurity, digital enterprise, and financial services, as well as new territories that the group is exploring, such as e-health.

With offices in Paris and Dakar, Orange Ventures supports start-ups in all stages of maturity, from seed stage start-ups in Africa and the Middle East, to more mature companies in Europe and the United States. Orange Ventures said it could invest as much as €20 million in a single round. 

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The Orange Ventures team, which was comprised of 20 employees, has been further strengthened with the addition of experts from the venture capital industry, and will also take over the management of the portfolio of the Orange Digital Ventures initiative that launched in 2015.