02/06/22 10:00

Corporate news

Virtual Rangers, Nirli and withVR join the 5th season of Orange Belgium’s start-up accelerator program: Orange Fab BeLux

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After a thorough preselection and pitch process, Virtual Rangers, Nirli and withVR will be joining the 5th season of the Orange Fab program, allowing them to innovate on 5G applications within the global framework of the Orange Group and its 18 Orange Fabs all over the world. After Antwerp and Brussels, this year’s edition took place in Liège, at La Grand Poste, were the next Orange Belgium 5G Lab will soon open. The selected start-ups will receive support from Orange experts and premium access to Orange 5G Labs as well as the operator's contacts. The goal of the Orange Fab program is to build a long-term business partnership with those innovative start-ups, the theme of this 5th season being the development of new experiences (AR/VR/metaverse) on the Orange multigigabit network, focusing on new shop and retail experiences, entertainment, sports technology, and healthcare.

For this 5th season of the Orange Fab program, focused on the new experiences in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the metaverse, and after a first selection, 5 applicants had an opportunity to pitch their project to a high-level jury of Orange Belgium and Luxembourg C-Executives.

Ultimately, the following 3 projects were chosen:

Matthieu Bracchetti from Virtual Rangers: “We could never imagine we would have been chosen to join the Orange Fab accelerator program. We, at Virtual Rangers, feel honored to have our expertise recognized by the Orange group. It can only augur a great collaboration. We are ready to go further in this collaboration and to show what we are capable of in terms of VR, AR and metaverse. We are looking forward to working closely with Corinne Lozé, CEO of Orange Luxembourg. Thank you, Orange!”

Jean-Marc Duyckaerts from Nirli: “We are really happy to have the recognition of the Orange group today. Especially in Liège, were I personally completed my studies at HELMo Liège. This nomination is an important milestone of the work from the whole team, as well as a new start with the Orange experts and ecosystem. We are honored to have the opportunity to work closely with Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise, Wholesale & Innovation at Orange Belgium, during this collaboration. We are looking forward to developing projects, working with clients, and exploring new fields to develop our VR, AR and metaverse solutions with the help of Orange Belgium.

Gareth Walkom from withVR: “I’m overwhelmed that withVR is one of the selected start-ups for the Orange Fab accelerator. The accomplishment not only highlights the highly valued virtual reality speech therapy tools that we're providing at withVR, but also Orange's willingness to support the future speech therapy. Our collaboration with Orange means that we can finally unlock the true potential of 5G, providing digital equality for those who find communication the most challenging. We look forward to working under the mentorship of Christophe Dujardin, Chief Customer Officer at Orange Belgium.”

By joining this program, the selected start-ups will benefit from the support of Orange experts to further develop their projects and scale them, but also to develop exclusive contracts with Orange business units and customers. They will also benefit from an increased visibility and from the possibility to unlock unique opportunities within the global Orange Group. In Belgium, since 2016, Orange Fab has received 275 applications leading to 13 accelerated start-ups and five signed partnerships. They could all benefit from Orange ‘best of breeds’, the unique network of the group’s many entities and partners excelling in various parts of telecommunication.

Global success stories

Over the last six years, the Orange Fab BeLux program resulted in several success stories. CommuniThings, accelerated in the first edition, has led to several partnerships with Orange over the years, combining its IoT offer with Orange's sales force. Today, the start-up is expanding internationally. OTIV, last season's winner, has made its solution 5G-compatible by using Orange's test environment. Thanks to the advice of experts, it now has various partnerships at the European level.

Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise, Wholesale & Innovation at Orange Belgium: "This 5th edition of Orange Fab BeLux was already marked by the quality of the applicants’ projects and approach. After a thorough selection, we chose those three start-ups to build win-win business partnerships together and help them unlock their potential, this time with a clear focus on the creation of new experiences thanks to innovative technologies. We truly believe they will be able to leverage on our expertise and international scope to scale up their activities and that we’ll be able to create interesting opportunities, for them, but also for us and our customers and partners.”

The Orange Fab 2022 finalists were:

  • Poolpio: Full of creativity, Poolpio constructs unique virtual reality experiences. From “in real life” immersive shows to metaverse, it always knows how to amaze.
  • Virtual Rangers: Jack of all trades, Virtual Rangers develops tailor made VR, AR, Metaverse and Gaming experiences for their customers.
  • Nirli: Building AR, VR and metaverses’ experiences in the sectors of health, building, retail or industry, Nirli fears no challenges!
  • Urban Time Travel: Urban Time Travel has a promise: make you travel in the past thanks to virtual reality. Its goal? Keep our cultural heritage alive.
  • withVR: withVR creates personalized virtual reality situations so people with speech disabilities and differences can have a safe space to speak.

For more information, visit the Orange Fab website.