Mobile operators partner to connect global startup ecosystems


Mobile operators Singtel, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica have announced a partnership aimed at bridging startup ecosystems across Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, assisting small businesses in launching outside their home markets.

The partnership will see the innovation arms of the four operators – Singtel Innov8, Orange Fab, Deutsche Telekom’s hub:raum and Telefónica Open Future offer selected startups the chance to tap into the resources and networks of the companies in various markets.

Support will include market insights, introductions to partners, the use of co-working spaces and access to the companies’ operating businesses. Selected startups may also have the opportunity to gain access to the operators’ collective mobile customer base of over one billion people across four continents.

The benefits are available to all startups currently supported by hub:raum, Orange Fab, Telefónica Open Future and Singtel Innov8, as well as all members of Innov8 Sparks.

“This is a great opportunity for us to deepen our connections with leading innovation hubs around the world. More start-ups harbour aspirations to venture beyond their own markets and go global,” said Edgar Hardless, chief executive officer (CEO) of Singtel Innov8.

“Through Singtel Innov8’s deep connections in Southeast Asia, we can help open doors for African, European, Middle Eastern and Latin American startups to the region. Similarly, our portfolio companies can leverage this partnership to expand beyond their home markets.”

Nathalie Boulanger, startup ecosystem director at Orange, said the company had built up extensive experience of working with startups and sees the formation of global partnerships like this as the “critical next step” to ensuring digital innovators are able to to flourish.

“With our collective and complementary footprints spanning four continents, we can provide startups with access to new markets, thereby enabling them to accelerate their growth further,” she said.

Ana Segurado, managing director of Telefónica Open Future, said the agreement was an opportunity to develop open and innovative initiatives to help telecoms operators to enhance the digital experience of companies all over the world.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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