French telecom giant Orange backs Paris-based Move Capital

Orange Business Services sees the investment as a way to gain better insight into the innovation market.

A unit of the French telecommunications titan Orange has invested in growth equity investor Move Capital to help it get a foothold into the broader B2B market.

Orange Business Services invested an undisclosed amount in Move Capital’s Fund I. The funding was made through its holding company Orange Digital Investment.

Laurent Godicheau, chief strategy officer at Orange Business Services, told Venture Capital Journal that the company wants to make strategic partnerships with venture firms it feels make great partners and allow them to invest both directly and indirectly in start-ups.

“From this type of investment, we expect to better know the market ecosystems and be exposed to innovations that can potentially disrupt and reshape the markets,” Godicheau said.

He added that Move Capital and its other investments into venture and growth equity firms could act as a pre-acquisition vehicle where Orange Business Services may opt to buy a start-up within Move’s portfolio.

Orange Business Services is the B2B arm of Orange. It offers support for enterprise telecommunications, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Paris-based Move Capital focuses on start-ups in the B2B tech sector.

Godicheu said that the investment in Move Capital comes as companies such as Orange need to get a better handle on trends and how 5G, the data boom and other technologies are changing the telecommunications landscape. He noted that working with Move Capital and other venture and growth equity firms allows the company to get a fuller picture of innovation happening within AI, cybersecurity and the cloud without needing to invest in companies individually.

This is not the first time Orange and its business units have invested directly in funds. Orange Digital has put more than €400 million into various venture funds. Maï de la Rochefordière, deputy chief executive officer of Orange Digital Investment, said these investments take into account what each department might need in the future.

“We invest based on the needs of the business unit, and we might continue this in the future depending on what their needs are,” she said.