La Poste, the French postal service, has set up a venture capital unit targeting investment opportunities linked to its core businesses.
Sofiposte, the internet investment unit of the French group, has established Xange Capital, which has raised E50m from a group of investors led by La Poste, which will take a 34 per cent stake in the business.
Investors in XAnge include AGF, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, CNP Assurances and La Garantie Mutuelle des Fonctionnaires. A number of industrial companies have also invested, including Alten, Laser-Cofinoga (Galeries Lafayette group), Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance and Néopost.
The fund will be headed by Hervé Schricke, who joined La Poste in late 2001. Schricke is a former director of Financière Natexis, the venture capital unit of the French bank.
XAnge Capital will invest in sectors linked to La Poste’s key business areas; post, financial services and express courier services, which it hopes will generate synergies and partnerships. This includes projects related to customer relationship management, direct marketing, electronic business, transaction security and data protection.
The fund is expected to invest up to E1m in businesses initially, with a maximum of E3m in subsequent rounds.