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France Telecom Funds Digital Tech VC

PARIS -- France Telecom-Orange [EURONEXT Paris : FR0000133308] and Publicis Groupe [EURONEXT Paris : FR0000130577] today announced they will partner with Iris Capital Management (Iris) to create one of Europe’s premier venture capital investors in the digital economy. Orange and Publicis Groupe will together contribute 150 million euros (ca. $200 million) to the initiative. Added to Iris’ pre-existing funding commitments from investors -- including the European Investment Fund and French public investor CDC Entreprises (Groupe Caisse des Dépôts) -- this will result in a total investment capacity in excess of 300 million euros.

Three funds will be created, to be organized as follows:
  • OP Ventures Growth will target established companies in France and Europe, providing up to 15 million euros per project.
  • OP Ventures Global will invest in start-ups outside Europe, also with funds of up to 15 million euros per project.
  • OP Ventures Early Stage will provide seed-capital and early-stage investment of up to 3 million euros to young companies in France and Europe.

    Both OP Ventures Growth and OP Ventures Global will be immediately operational, while the third fund, OP Ventures Early Stage, will open for business in the course of the second quarter of 2012. All three funds will be dedicated exclusively to companies involved in creating value within the digital economy.

    Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of France Telecom-Orange said, “I’m delighted by today’s launch of OP Ventures. This joint initiative with Publicis Groupe and Iris is a pioneer in its field. It complements Orange’s considerable effort in terms of research and development, and it will encourage the emergence of future leaders of the digital economy by bringing them funds at several stages of their development. I would also like to thank both the European Investment Fund and CDC Entreprises for contributing to this project to create one of the leading players in Europe in digital venture capital”.

    Orange (NYSE: FTE)

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