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French telecommunications operator Orange has announced it has agreed to partner with US technology colossus Google, in an effort to explore opportunities to fund and potentially acquire start-ups in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

It has been further disclosed that Orange and Google are particularly interested in funding starts-ups in specific areas such as AI, Internet of Things, Cloud and Cybersecurity. CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard expressed his delight at the collaboration agreement it has entered with Google, and said emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things represent huge opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprises.

The CEO said, "We are very proud to announce this partnership which will enable start-ups supported by Orange Digital Ventures to explore potential co-investment opportunities with Google. Through this partnership - we stand to reinforce Orange Digital Ventures' Smart Money value-proposition by offering entrepreneurs with whom we work much more than just financing.

EMEA President of Google Partnerships, Carlo d'Asaro Biondo said that Orange's ecosystem perfectly complements Google's nous and expertise in accelerating the growth of start-ups. He said, "This partnership is a way to enhance our collective contribution to innovation in this region.

Marc Rennard, CEO of Orange Digital Ventures, added, "From time to time, it's difficult to have a place at the table. When a start-up decides to call for investors - they might cover all their needs from others, without any possibility of us entering too. But with Google plus Orange, I think the company will think twice before rejecting us, so it may help us."

Tech Crunch also noted that with Google under scrutiny for alleged anticompetitive practices in Europe, investing in start-ups in the region is a way of showing it supports smaller businesses.

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