France Télécom, Publicis launch pan-European VC fund. Target: €300 million

Confirming rumors earlier reported by Bloomberg, mobile carrier France Télécom-Orange and advertising juggernaut Publicis Groupe have teamed up to launch a venture capital fund.

The companies have committed to jointly put in 150 million euros (presumably split 50/50), and are seeking outside investors to double the size of the fund, which will focus on backing budding entrepreneurs building digital companies in France and the rest of Europe.

Bloomberg pegged the size of the fund at ‘more than 100 million euros’.

If enough investors line up to back the new fund, it will reach its actual target size of 300 million euros (roughly $411.5 million).

The fund will be flexible enough to provide seed capital (up to 1 million euros) but also participate in later-stage financing rounds (up to 15 million euros per project). According to a press statement, the fund may opt to also invest in startups outside of Europe in collaboration with Asian or American funds at a later time. A great initiative if you ask me.

The new fund will be operated by a management company, with investment decisions made by a committee independent of both France Télécom-Orange and Publicis Groupe.

From the press release:

The fund’s main targets for investment will be companies focusing on digital technology, content and services. Likely sectors include 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 plans for the new VC fund remain subject to the approval of relevant authorities.