Orange has announced a new investment program that it is calling Digital Ventures, which is geared towards identifying and funding startups from their initial development stage through to when they become fully fledged companies.
This new initiative, is intended to join the already existing open innovation strategies that the company already has, such as Orange Fab, that are aimed at reaching new idea companies ready to adopt and act on technology shifts for better digital services for the future.
Startups with business ideas focusing on communication, connectivity, the cloud, payment, IoT, Big data, e-Health and security services in their solutions and innovations are planned to receive priority in the selection process, as they are the main focus of the Digital Ventures program.
Also to be considered as a priority will be digital services that are designed for use in the African continent, and have a potential for disruption in just their early stages.
The telecommunications operator has set aside up to 20 Million Euros (about KSh 2.1 Billion) for just the first year of the program, which it will use to make investments to be used in supporting startups across all regions where Orange is present.
“Orange Digital Ventures will be more than a shareholder, it is designed to be a growth catalyst. The ambition of the program is to work alongside the portfolio companies and transform far-sighted, talented entrepreneurs into key players in their chosen markets,” said Orange in a statement.
Participating startups are expected to be able to develop technical or commercial relationships through access to Orange experts and managerial staff, as well as grow their ideas into sustainable businesses.
Startups wanting to benefit from the Orange Digital Ventures investment program can visit their website at digitalventures.orange.com for further information.
This new move comes at a time when Orange Kenya has expanded its 3G network to 14 more towns across the country and moved to consolidate its data services business in 2015, the year mobile internet is expected to grow the telecommunication sector.
The telecommunications provider has also announced further plans to link 27 more towns to the Orange 3G network by the end of the first quarter of 2015.