PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Regulatory News:
On the occasion of today’s Franco-German conference on digital at the Elysée Palace, Stéphane Richard (Chairman and CEO of Orange), Maurice Lévy (Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe (Paris:PUB)), and Gerhard Cromme (acting in a private capacity), have signed a letter of intent with a view to creating a European multi-corporate venture capital fund on a global scale.
The goal of this new fund, named IrisNext, is to become one of Europe’s leading venture capital funds through funding from major international groups of French, German and international origins, as well as from institutional investors.
IrisNext will mainly invest in European start-ups to help fund their growth, not just in the early stages but all throughout the phases of growth. The fund will focus its investments in entities involved in all aspects of corporate digital transformation. Among the start-ups concerned, IrisNext will be funding pure players, but also new business models built around digital technology, as well as new tools and technologies taking on the challenge of this transformation (e.g. big data, cloud, artificial intelligence, digital innovations, robots, etc.). The fund will be managed by Iris Capital, assisted by German VC fund Capnamic, with an initial closing scheduled in 2016.
To ensure the success of this venture, Publicis Groupe and Orange have committed to provide additional funding of 75M€ each. With the support of Gerhard Cromme, who has joined this project in a personal capacity and will sit on the Supervisory Board of Iris Capital, they will use their networks and influence to convince other German, French and European groups to invest in IrisNext, in order to endow the fund with the required dimension while optimizing opportunities for European start-ups. Institutional investors will also be invited to invest. Furthermore, public bodies in the field of corporate financing in France and Germany will also be solicited for additional funding to ensure the fund reaches the critical mass it needs.
In view of the very active presence of the large Anglo-Saxon and Asian venture capital funds, the parties involved in this agreement consider it indispensable to leverage the Franco-German axis in order to bolster the European venture capital sufficiently for it to support start-ups, particularly in the later stages of growth, and in doing so, to help anchor them in Europe.
The IrisNext project is a follow-up to the Orange Publicis Ventures funds which were launched in 2012 and contributed some 300M€ to the funding of the French and European digital ecosystem. These funds, which are also managed by Iris Capital, have helped promote the emergence of an innovative, multi-corporate investment model that is mutually beneficial to both parties: the start-ups receiving funding and the groups who learn from these innovations. Close to 60 start-ups have received funding from Orange Publicis Ventures, including very promising firms such as Netatmo in the IoT (Internet of Things), Talend (software), Scality (high capacity storage), Adjust (mobile analytics) and Mister Auto (e-commerce).
About Publicis Groupe
Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in marketing, communication, and business transformation. In a world marked by increased convergence and consumer empowerment, Publicis Groupe offers a full range of services and skills: digital, technology & consulting with Publicis.Sapient (SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets, Sapient Government Services, Razorfish Global, DigitasLBi, Rosetta) - the world’s largest most forward-thinking digitally centered platform focused exclusively on digital transformation in an always-on world - as well as creative networks such as BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, public affairs, corporate communications and events with MSLGROUP, ad tech solutions with VivaKi, media strategy, planning and buying through Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia, healthcare communications, with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), and finally, brand asset production with Prodigious. Present in 108 countries, the Groupe employs more than 76,000 professionals.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 39 billion euros in 2014 and 157,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 98,000 employees in France. Present in 28 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2015, including 200 million mobile customers and 18 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.