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November 09, 2011

France Telecom-Orange and Publicis Groupe Launch Venture-capital Fund
By Carolyn J Dawson
TMCnet Contributor

A new venture capital fund will be launched by France Télécom-Orange (News - Alert) and Publicis Groupe. Budding entrepreneurs in the digital economy sector, especially in France and the European Union, will be now developed and financed through the fund. The approval of the relevant authorities for the fund is still pending.

The new fund will see a joint investment of $207.68 million from France Télécom-Orange and Publicis Groupe. Other investors are also expected to join the two sponsors. A target of $415.34 million for the fund has been set by the two organizations.

Companies focusing on digital technology, content and services will be the fund’s main targets for investment. Online marketing, e-commerce, mobile content and services, online gaming and social networking are some of the likely sectors.

Fledgling companies in France and Europe, will be targeted with investments of up to $ 1.38 million for seed-capital and early-stage investment. More established companies in France and Europe will be provided up to $20.76 million per project through later-stage financing. Investments in start-ups outside Europe, alongside American or Asian partner funds, may also be considered by the fund at a later time.

A management company will be operating the new fund. An investment committee independent of both France Télécom-Orange and Publicis Groupe will be making the investment decisions. The two organizations are expected to release the details of the fund's operation and governance at a later date.

In a release, Stéphane Richard, CEO of France Télécom-Orange, said, "French investment capital has been suffering for far too long from the absence of a solid ecosystem to link young companies together with larger groups, research centers and government systems. We're very happy to be working with Publicis Groupe to finance and support digital start-up projects."

According to Richard, the organization’s job will be to contribute to the growth of tomorrow’s heads in this surging growth market. The organization’s investments in R&D are complemented by the new fund. A terrific opportunity to be present at the birth of growth projects is also presented to the organization.

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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