Orange backs $50m extended reality fund

French telecoms giant Orange has signalled plans to enter the extended reality (XR) sector with an investment into the Venture Reality Fund II.

The American venture capital fund, which aims to raise “at least $50m”, has been set up to support immersive technologies which can fast-track the development of new 5G services.

The fund has plans to invest in “at least 35 companies working in the XR space” covering Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

According to a statement from Orange, XR can help support future professional uses including entertainment, Industry 4.0 and medical research through the availability of 5G and edge computing.

Karine Dussert-Sarthe, product marketing, design and open innovation director at Orange, said: “At Orange, we are fully committed to supporting the next immersive technology revolution. Contributing to this new ecosystem is a way for Orange to open new opportunities by leveraging our 5G networks.”

Orange, which is investing in the fund via its Orange Digital Investment holding company, is the first European telecoms firm to become involved “having been exploring the potential for XR for a number of years”. Other investors in VRF include Qualcomm, Yahoo Japan and LG Uplus.

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