The digital world has seen incredible acceleration in recent years. Innovations are more in number, more visible and especially more quickly accessible. As a major digital player in France and internationally, Orange is aware of the potential of these transformations as a vehicle for human progress and sustainable economic development.
That is why Orange is devoted to identifying, supporting and promoting the digital talents that will change how its customers live what is important to them tomorrow.
Orange carries out this mission chiefly in the fields that will completely change how we communicate (LoRa, 5G networks…), how we work, what we do for entertainment, how we manage our daily lives through the Internet of Things (connected home, wellbeing and health) and FinTech (mobile banking, crowdfunding), with the objective of:
- connecting Orange customers to what matters to them,
- contributing to the development of the new economy, making it a driver for local economic growth and promoting new ways of thinking about industry, agriculture, education, environmental protection…
- taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the new economy
Orange is convinced that a collaborative approach among the different innovation players – start-ups, large groups, investors, developers, academics, students, public authorities, NGOs and others – will give rise to more creativity, more efficiency and more of an economic impact. Orange leads this mission by encouraging synergies between players, by creating ecosystems for support and exchange, and by disseminating knowledge in an approach of open innovation and investment.
Identifying means, firstly, anticipating and identifying the changes to come in digital uses, then selecting and including the start-ups most likely to lead them in Orange’s ecosystem.
The research and innovation centres
As a large international group, Orange rallies experts from all walks of life. Orange Gardens, the Group’s eco-campus for innovation, has become the hub of a network of research and innovation centres linking 12 countries on 4 continents, from Silicon Valley to India, from innovation centres in Africa to those of the Middle East. Each centre is integrated into its own geographic ecosystem near local markets, and it works in a network with all local players as well as in international bodies and collaborative projects.
Their work concerns a wide range of fields, including mobile financial services, content aggregation, mobile communication services, networks, the Internet of Things and Big Data. Through cross-fertilisation, these areas of expertise generate that intelligence which enriches and drives digital innovation. Not only can they identify trends, but they also help anticipate the changes in uses to come. This work contributes to the selection of the start-ups.
Ce travail contribue à la sélection des start-up.
Orange Digital Investment
Financing activities offer an opportunity to facilitate Orange’s monitoring and anticipation of the services of the future which will enable its customers to live what is important to them more fully. It is through this prism that the start-ups in which Orange will invest are identified.
The Orange Fab accelerators
In 2013, in Silicon Valley, Orange’s international network of start-up accelerators was born: the Orange Fabs. It now represents 12 organisations on 4 continents, and it has already accelerated or is in the process of accelerating more than 180 young companies.
To select the network’s future start-ups, each Orange Fab location launches an average of two calls for candidates per year to all start-ups that have already developed a product or service. After examining all of the applications, some of them are selected to meet Orange and its partners during pitch sessions. At the end of these sessions, a panel of judges chooses the two to seven start-ups that will join the local Orange Fab programme.
To expand the start-ups’ horizons even further, Orange broadened the scope of a partnership with Deutsche Telekom. Together, they have created the International Alliance alongside Singtel and Telefonica, giving start-ups access to contracts with these partners, which represent a potential of more than one billion customers and have complementary geographical footprints.
And in June 2015, Orange announced a partnership with KT Corp., the Republic of Korea’s largest operator, and with the G-CEIC, a Korean governmental organisation managed by KT, in connection with their respective start-up acceleration programmes. The start-ups selected by Orange, KT and the G-CEIC enjoy a range of mechanisms to support them in their international development.
The incubators in Africa
Orange opened incubators in five African countries: CTIC in Senegal, Ebene in Mauritius), Cipmen in Niger, Createam in Mali and Saboutech in Guinea. Designed with inclusive, horizontal governance uniting the public sector, the private sector and civil society, the originality of this model lies in this co-creativity, designed to nurture the emergence and development of very small, small and medium businesses and start-ups. This approach is also being deployed in other countries on the African continent.
Supporting means enabling identified start-ups to develop and establish themselves for the long term by making experts available to them who provide human, material and financial aid.
The Orange Fabs: men and women to support the start-ups
The start-ups selected by the Orange Fabs are offered at least three months of support, both material (e.g. availability of co-working spaces) and immaterial (e.g. mentoring, training, expert advice, etc.). In some countries, they can even receive financial support of up to 15,000 euros. Orange’s goal is to build a working relationship anchored in trust with the start-ups of the Orange Fabs in order to encourage the emergence of win-win co-innovation projects.
Via Orange Developer, Orange opens APIs to developers to stimulate the creation of new services
Exposure to Orange’s APIs via developer.orange.com encourages developer creativity and the development of innovative services based on Orange’s key solutions.
Orange has a catalogue of more than 20 self-service application programme interfaces (API) in three categories: APIs linked to the operator’s key assets of identity, payment, communications and the cloud; supplementary APIs about the Internet of Things and proximity; and APIs devoted to the development of services for Africa and the Middle East.
Orange’s Cloud API allows developers to access the personal cloud of Orange France customers – subject to their consent – in order to read, enrich and add content to it: photos, videos, documents, etc.
The SMS API launched in 2015 is offered to mobile application publishers or web customers targeting users in eight African and Middle Eastern countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal.
Orange also helps developers increase their business in countries in which Orange is present with personalised support. There, they may see the visibility of their services increase.
In addition, Orange organises and participates in challenges in order to play an active role in the ecosystem, identify new uses of its services and promote its APIs to the developer community.
The Bonne Nouvelle Villa
The Bonne Nouvelle Villa is a corpoworking space and Orange’s living Human Relations (HR) laboratory. Its objective: a better understanding of how digital impacts our ways of working. Its challenge: to identify and characterise trends in methods of management and operations in a digital environment, totally organised around collaboration and exchange. In concrete terms, several Orange project teams, start-ups and freelancers are gathered together in 350 m2 of office space in the heart of «Silicon Sentier». The modular space can accommodate up to 60 people. Teams stay there for 9 months. Together, they constitute a creative, caring human community. The place is specially organised to step back from the daily routine and think about new collaborative practices in order to disseminate them within Orange. With this impetus, the digital evolution is a transformation for the long term.
The partnership with the Cité de l’Objet Connecté in Angers
On June 12, 2015, President François Hollande inaugurated the Cité de l’Objet Connecté in Angers. A private company of which Orange is a shareholder (along with Eolane and several other investors), the Cité de l’Objet Connecté provides project leaders with all the resources they need to successfully manufacture their product in France. From design (CAD) to prototyping (professional 3D printers, electronic development stations) to industrialisation (electronic component placement line, laser cutting, micro-casting), everything can be done on site. It’s a unique place for designing, prototyping, industrialising and producing connected objects in France.
In addition to its financial participation, Orange’s support mainly involves in-kind assistance to start-ups in the form of products and services such as the 4G Starter Kit, MyPlug, U-by and, more generally, Datavenue, provided free of charge during the project incubation phase. Expertise and technology support are also provided.
Orange Digital Investment: financing in the plural
Created in 2016, this organisation leads the Group’s investments with the objective of either earning a financial return or improving the products and services that Orange delivers to its customers through synergies. Orange Digital Investment consolidates Orange’s start-up investment activities:
- The fund of funds activity includes all of Orange’s holdings in external funds which have their own investment process; the most well-known of them is Iris Capital, founded with Publicis, for which an additional grant of 75 million euros was announced at the end of last year.
- The internal Orange Digital Ventures fund is the group’s investment vehicle. Created in 2015, it has 100 million euros in funding. The investment themes of Orange Digital Ventures are linked to the priorities of the Essentiels2020 strategic plan (New Connectivities, Internet of Things, FinTech, etc.). The acquisition of holdings must not exceed 3 million euros and is subject to the Group’s approval.
- The corporate digital development activity identifies opportunities and acquires or makes large-scale strategic investments in digital operations that are not part of Orange’s core business but which supplement the Orange promise, such as Deezer, DailyMotion and Africa Internet Group.
With more than 350 million euros under management, ODI is now one of the top five most dynamic corporate venture funds in France.
The Group’s Senegalese subsidiary Sonatel also participates in the Teranga Capital fund, the leading venture capital fund in Senegal. Teranga Capital’s goal is to bring an innovative solution to meeting the financing needs of small and medium businesses in the range of 75,000 to 300,000 euros. Teranga Capital was created and began operating in March 2016.
Orange is a member of 10 competitiveness clusters in France
These clusters were created to encourage local synergies for innovative projects. Most notably, Orange chairs the “Images and Networks” cluster. The clusters enable it to be a development actor for more than 3,000 digital start-ups and SMEs.
The incubators and the Entrepreneur Club site
In February 2016, Orange launched a new space for information in French and English on entrepreneurs in Africa and the Middle East. The website not only informs the entrepreneurs, it puts them in touch with a variety of Orange programmes supporting entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneur Club also offers practical information and tools for business creation.
The Technology Research Institutes
As part of the French government’s Investments for the Future Programme, the Group is involved in two Technology Research Institutes (IRT). Orange chairs the b<>com IRT, which is working on ultra-broadband fixed and mobile networks and the content of the future, in particular with 20 SMEs. It also contributes to the SystemX Institute, whose work concerns digital systems engineering.
Orange has set up a plan to “become a digital entrepreneur” which allows entrepreneurial employees to use innovation projects made available to them, to compare their project and choices to market realities, to develop a prototype during an incubation period, and to get support from business experts.
This employee-oriented process of innovation also contributes to an ecosystem of innovative businesses which create value and are close to and potentially partners of Orange. Over the 2014-2015 period, 23 start-ups nourished by this process were created.
Promoting means offering start-ups preferred access to procurement contracts, but also making them more visible to their target publics on the international scene.
The Alliance and Orange Fab networks
The Group’s footprint in 28 countries gives start-ups in the Orange Fab network the ability to take advantage of a powerful accelerator for their international development. We offer them the possibility of participating in major internal events at which the start-ups pitch to a number of Country directors, Marketing directors and others, giving them faster access to certain contracts and assistance that can go as far as including their solution in Orange’s offers and services. This type of opportunity is part of our 50% transformation objective for the Orange Fabs in countries in which we are operators.
Start-ups of the Orange Fab network can benefit from the hosting capabilities of foreign start-ups in countries in which they wish to examine market opportunities, develop business, and network with local internal and external business partners.
These are incredible opportunities for start-ups to exploit the resources and know-how of major international players and benefit from powerful acceleration of their international development.
This is a weekly show for start-ups on BFM TV and BFM Business in France which helps them become better known to customers, partners and investors.
The Orange Entrepreneur Award
Every year since 2011, the Orange Social Entrepreneur in Africa Award recognises entrepreneurs which offer products or services that make innovative use of ICTs to meet the needs of the people of Africa in a variety of fields, including health, agriculture, education, energy, industry and commerce. The three award-winners receive financial aid and support from experts for six months. A patent is registered in the winner’s name in his or her country. Fifteen winners have already received grants and support that have helped them grow their business, including Tele-irrigation in Niger, Chifco in Tunisia, PassDocteur in Senegal, Station Energie in Côte d’Ivoire, Bassita in Egypt, UpOwa in Cameroon and MyAgro in Mali.
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#FrenchTech promotes a national and regional public initiative serving the ecosystem of French technology start-ups, with the goal of making France one of the great start-up nations and of fostering the development of jobs and economic value in France.
Orange affirms its support to the French Tech initiative as an actor in the digital ecosystems of 13 large cities and regions with the French Tech label (Rennes, Brest, Nantes, Lille, Normandy, Lorraine, Paris, Lyon, Nice, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse and Bordeaux), 4 French Tech thematic territories (Avignon, Saint Etienne, Alsace and Angers) and the Loire Valley French Tech.
Orange trains the spotlight on French start-ups operating in the field of connected objects, brought together under one name: French Tech connected objects. In October 2015, Orange signed a charter to showcase these connected objects in its points of sale. After a first edition in October 2015, Orange renewed its support for the “Connected Objects Week” initiative in 2016, held from May 16th to 22nd.
Orange, start-up’s partner