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Telefónica launches international network of technology venture capital funds
September 4, 2012
MADRID -- Telefónica has launched an international network of technology venture capital funds, Amérigo, in order to detect and finance new businesses that are innovating in the digital space. The aim is for Amérigo to become a key source of financing for technology entrepreneurs globally, particularly outside of the main centres of VC activity, such as Silicon Valley and London.
Promoted by Telefónica Digital, this initiative lays the foundation to attract and create a global network of innovation funds which will work as a platform, open to the participation of other companies and institutions, both public and private. New creative and technological projects will be promoted from this network through direct funding managed by professionals in the venture capital sector.
The Amérigo program starts its activity with capital of about €300 million, provided by its promoting entities - in particular Telefónica has undertaken initially investments of €68 million for the next five years- and the funds subscribed to the program. This initial capital will allow managing business projects with an aggregated estimated value of €1 billion.
In a first stage, the programme is focused on four countries, Spain, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, where Amérigo already has the support of governments and public financial institutions and also from other private partners.
In Spain, this initiative is supported, within the framework of the program Innvierte, by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), reporting to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness. To date, the program has already made investments in five Spanish technology companies whose customer bases amount to 3.5 million people.
Within the Amérigo network, the best fund managers are being selected who are also specialised in the ICT sector. These managers and the technology funds designated to coordinate the financial resources in each market will identify and promote high potential companies, with an initial investment of approximately one million euros depending on the size of level of development of the project.
This global network of innovation funds will become a critical and independent mechanism to finance innovation wherever there is entrepreneurial talent in the world. The objective is to invest beyond areas that have been the focus for venture capital to date, focusing resources in other European countries, Latin America and Asia.
In addition, thanks to its function as a catalyst for local talent, this global network of innovation funds will also contribute to technological and digital development, increasing industrial competitiveness in all regions of operation. It ensures the local consolidation and international expansion of disruptive proposals, new services and business models, in an ecosystem of innovation where not only local public administrations but also technology companies consolidated in these markets get involved.
“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. 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” said Matthew Key, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica Digital.
Telefónica and open innovation
Amérigo becomes a key platform in Telefónica’s strategy of open innovation and commitment to identifying and harnessing the best technology ideas wherever they might come from. It joins other initiatives such as Wayra, which is already accelerating over 145 start-ups in its 12 Academies, and Telefónica’s direct investment programme, Telefónica Ventures. Amérigo builds on these initiatives, adopting a global and collaborative approach to investing in the high tech companies of the future.
All of these initiatives form part of Telefónica Digital which has been formed to seize opportunities in the digital world and deliver new growth for Telefónica.
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)
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