Following on the heels of their newly-formed partnership just this month, France Telecom-Orange and Publicis Groupe announced they will partner with Iris Capital Management to make venture capital investments in digital start-ups – with a focus on the EMEA market.
Their first investment, just announced this week, is in London-based myThings, which specialises in personalised display ad technology. This latest $15m round was led by Iris Capital Management (who currently manages the Orange-Publicis venture fund), bringing the total amount invested in myThings since its 2005 launch to $37 million.
CEO of myThings, Benny Arbel says Orange-Publicis-Iris had considered some 100 other start-ups before deciding on myThings. The company has been working with Orange for a year already and is extending that now to cover all of Orange’s network — the company operates portals in France, Spain and the UK that together get 30 million users per month. MyThings is now also working closely with Publicis on potential projects.
“myThings is proud to contribute to the strong technological and financial synergy created by the fund’s investment and backing of two major advertising influencers,” Arbel adds. “As the digital advertising landscape continues to evolve, myThings will continue to push the envelope and deliver ad solutions that serve as a catalyst for the industry’s growth.”
Denis Barrier, who is in charge of the deal for Iris Capital, comments: “myThings’ e-marketing solutions and disruptive technology produce one of the highest performance uplifts in the industry. With a market clearly heading toward performance and data-driven ad solutions, we regard myThings as a natural investment path.”
The Orange and myThings’ business partnership includes the addition of Orange Ad Market (OAM), which will give customers the Orange ad network’s audience reach, coupled with an incremental uplift in conversion rates achieved by myThings’ advanced display advertising solutions.
The newly-formed Orange-Publicis partnership stipulates that both companies commit to investing $200m ($100m each) in three complementary funds: OPV Growth for late stage investments, OPV Early-Stage for seed investments and OPV Global for international investments. The current round of financing will fuel myThings’ continued growth across Europe, its expansion to new markets and the advancement of its innovative technologies.