We have previously covered Orange Fab – the insanely attractive acceleration program for US based startups. The first season of the program has just finished and Orange is already preparing to launch Season 2 with applications opening in just a few weeks from now. During the first season over a 100 companies applied, of which 30 pitched to the jury and only 6 were selected. The program gives an invaluable access to mentorship with 1:1 advising from Orange executives, investors, and entrepreneurs, but the biggest value of the program is in the access to Orange’s massive distribution network. Over 80% of the participants chose Orange Fab because of the business opportunity.
The Season 1 startups are
Phone Halo helps you keep track of your lost items (remember the Tile?). Using low energy wireless devices and mobile applications Phone Halo technology can keep track of items ranging from wallets to cars to keys. They have shiped over 100.000 units and have products available in carrier stores in the US.
AlephCloud focuses on enabling zero knowledge of content in the cloud for ensured privacy and provenance. Their deep cryptographic expertise allows them to make any cloud a Trustworthy Cloud without dependence on third-parties. AlephCloud’s solution allows organizations to sync documents to BYOD and to share them with external clients and business partners, adding the necessary security to consumer grade solutions like Dropbox and adding the necessary security for business critical documents.
Fenix mission is to design and delivert world-changing clean energy solutions to the 1,3 bilion people living without power in emerging markets. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to test the US market back in July 2012, and reached their goal of 20K in just one day, then went on to raise $112,000. Their hardware product Fenix ReadySet is, to quote the company, “an intelligent plug-and-play energy system that can power mobile phones, lights, water purifiers and even medical applications.” The device can be charged “from a portfolio of energy sources including solar, micro-wind, micro-hydro, and even a bicycle dynamo.”
Soil IQ is a precision agriculture system for gardners and small farmers. They introduced a connected hardware device that monitors and streams soil nutrient content, pH, temperature, moisture and light data to the cloud. Farmers then get personalized recommendations to optimize their seed selection, fertilization and watering. Interestingly they are potentially collecting data on millions on different soil compositions and their location which aggregated have a huge value for governments as well, and is being collected with at very low cost.
Talkdesk integrates with business tools like Salesforce, Zendesk, Deks.com, Highrise, SugarCRM, Olark and others, to setup a call center under 5 minutes. It provides enterprise-level call center software functionality without the hassles and costs of long-term contracts making it a perfect match for small and medium companies.
Virtrue is has created an identity verification solution for the 21st century. Their goal is to reduce global fraud and they market to governments, marketplaces, and e-commerce companies. Using proprietary algorithms and cutting edge data sets they deliver insights about individual users.
Orange will continue innovating with Season 2 of the Orange Fab program. Calling for companies with models with high bandwith disruption, m-payments, video content aggregation, game content aggregation, user interfaces, personal data & big data management, and other categories, companies that make it to the final selection can benefit from having Orange as their first client. For Orange this might be a way to externalize R&D but for applying companies this might be the make or break point for worldwide reach. Similar to the previous edition the program lasts for 12 weeks with 2 demo days – one in Silicon Valley and the other in Paris, giving participating companies the opportunity to raise up to $20K in funding and access to the 20+ workshops to be delivered by the mentors.
The challenge is still restricted to US based companies so we can only hope that Orange will release a sister program for French based companies. Applications open November 1st 2013 so make sure to check out the program.