Following up with the announcement of Orange Fab France, the company has finally released some more details on the format of the program. As expected, the competition will follow a similar path as the first two editions of Orange Fab in the Valley. The startup accelerator is directed towards innovative startups with an existing product in the market, or in advanced beta testing (that have yet to raise their first series of capital). Apart from the huge media visibility, selected companies get mentorship from Orange executives, engineers and designers, as well as from other French entrepreneurs and experts. Obviously the most important advantage of the program is the access to Orange’s global network and it’s directed towards companies wishing to take advantage of Orange’s expertise in mobile connectivity.
Up until now Orange Fab, was restricted to US-based startups as the accelerator was in the Silicon Valley, with one demo day in the Valley and one in Paris. Now Orange Fab has officially opened in three other locations – France, Poland, and Japan, covering North America, Europe, and the South Asia regions. Similarly to the Valley edition, the France edition will take startups to the Silicon Valley for two weeks to meet investors and experts at the Orange Fab Silicon Valley. The program kicks off in February and will go on for 3 months, with 4 to 6 selected startups and two demo days – the first one in Paris in April 2014 and the second in the Silicon Valley in May 2014. Participating startups will also be supported with mentoring, logistics and financing, from Orange’s international network, so that they can focus on growth instead of survival.
Orange is making a huge effort towards Open Innovation, opening the company’s frontiers to interact with the evolving ecosystem. While promising, their success in executing this strategy will need to be proven – nonetheless, Orange Fab has been claimed as widely successful and is very welcomed (and wanted) by the startup ecosystem in France. Startups wishing to develop their activity with Orange Fab France can apply up until December 31st.