German Startups Eye New French €150m VC Fund

By David Knight |

German startups could benefit from a new €150 million investment fund being set up by two companies in France. France Télécom-Orange and advertising agency Publicis have announced plans to create a venture capital fund to invest in “budding entrepreneurs in the digital economy, particularly in France and the European economy.”

As well as stumping up the €150m, the firms will also be looking for additional investors to ultimately reach a target of €300 million. France Telecom revealed that the main targets for investment would include firms in “online marketing, e-commerce, mobile content and services, online gaming and social networks, as well as their associated technologies and infrastructures such as middleware, cloud computing, security, and online payments.”

The investment available will include seed catpial and early-stage funding of up to €1 million and later-stage financing for more established companies of up to €15 million. German entrepreneurs will be eyeing the fund keenly, with Berlin becoming ever-more established as Europe’s biggest startup hub – although it’s worth bearing in mind that French startups attracted more venture or seed capital in 2009 and 2010 than those in Britain and Germany.

Nonetheless, the fund could well prove a decent source of investment for the German tech scene. France Telecom chief executive Stéphane Richard said: “This is a surging growth market and it’s an important challenge: our job will be to contribute to the emergence of tomorrow’s leaders.”

“All over Europe, there are young companies with powerful, game-changing ideas, and they’re not getting the financial backing they deserve,” said Maurice Lévy, chief executive of Publicis. “We feel that this project is in the national and European interest, and I hope that we’ll be swiftly joined by other institutions and funds so that we can operate on an even more massive scale.”