Orange announces $56m African startup investment initiative

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Orange has announced the launch of an Africa-focused arm of its early-stage investment programme Orange Digital Ventures, committing EUR50 million (US$56 million) to the new initiative.

Disrupt Africa reported in 2015 global telecoms firm Orange launched Orange Digital Ventures to identify and fund early-stage startups worldwide and provide strategic support; initially earmarking EUR20 million (US$22.4 million) for the project.

The company has now announced a further EUR50 million (US$56 million) will be committed to a new dedicated branch of the programme – Orange Digital Ventures Africa.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa will serve as the Orange Group’s investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa, and will focus on the areas of new connectivities, fintech, internet of things (IoT), energy and e-health.

The objective of the initiative is to support startups offering responses to Africa’s fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator’s assets on the continent, Orange said.

“Since the beginning of Orange Digital Ventures, the new services and business models in Africa have been one of the priority investment themes of our corporate venture business. With this announcement, we are engaging a bit further alongside the African digital ecosystem, which like everywhere else and maybe even more than elsewhere carries with it a development challenge,” said Pierre Louette, deputy chief executive officer (CEO) of Orange and chairman of Orange Digital Ventures.

A dedicated team will also be set up in Dakar, Senegal, as of September.

Interested startups can submit applications here.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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