Orange Fab: accelerating innovation

Orange makes big investments in the next-generation of tech innovation through its Orange Fab accelerator scheme. What is it, why is it there, and who does it support?

Technology is changing everything, but disruptive technologies need disruptive ideas, and that’s where accelerator schemes play their part.

One such scheme is Orange Fab, a three-month accelerator program that supports firms with great technology ideas that are relevant to the connected age and which could benefit from Orange technologies, or make use of mobile networks.

“It’s a win:win scenario with twin objectives: to accelerate innovation for our customers and to accelerate growth for startups by allowing them access to market much more quickly,” said Natalie Boulanger, Directrice Orange startup Ecosysteme.

Some recent examples of innovations that have come through Orange Fab include:

Edyn: a smartphone app and soil probe that makes it easier for small farms and gardeners to grow crops sustainably. The system also integrates controls for your existing watering system and soil analysis tools to help guide crop sowing decisions.

Emberlight: plug-&-play solution sits between your conventional light fitting and our bulb. Available in 2015 the Wi-Fi device then lets you control your lighting using your smartphone, no additional equipment required (other than a Wi-Fi network).

TrackR: proximity sensor that works with your smartphone to help ensure you never lose your stuff, it will notify you if you leave it behind.

Previous Orange Fab “graduates” have included NFC, cashless and contactless payments solutions for the events industry, MyBee; time management apps solutions company, Chronos; an affordable call center solution for small businesses, TalkDesk; even a social networking site for pets and owners, YummyPets.

open access

Orange Fab doesn’t just pluck ideas out of the air. If you have a great idea and want to join the scheme you make an application and the company’s team selects those it wishes to work with.

In the US, Orange Fab Silicon Valley recently chose the following seven firms to help: 1-Page, Flamestower, Chronos, 2600hz, Fiverun, Angaza and Videopixie. Orange Fab is now available in France, SouthEast Asia, US and Poland. Earlier in November 2014 the scheme hosted a startup day in Tokyo, where 22 firms were represented.

It’s worth taking a look at some of the startups Orange Fab has supported, as they provide a pretty good sample of the breadth and depth of disruptive tech ideas in the connected digital age.

Will they all succeed? That’s hard to say -- VentureBeat claims it can take up to four years before you know if a startup will succeed; however there is evidence startups who go through accelerator scheme are both more likely to survive and more likely to be acquired.

For more information about what Orange Fab is doing take a look at the scheme’s dedicated microsites: Orange Fab Silicon Valley, Orange Fab France and Orange Fab Asia.