@viso Backs Set of US Firms with European Intentions

@viso, the venture capital company created by French conglomerate Vivendi and Softbank, has named its first round of US partners.

The company has chosen e-tailer buy.com, E-Loan, Web hosting service Interliant, MessageMedia, and Vstream as its first investments. The
venture fund holds 50 percent of buy.com, Interliant and
Message Media and 37 percent of E-Loan.

Buy.com intends to launch a computer shopping site, created in partnership with Ingram Micro Europe, by December. Other European sites will be unveiled in the first quarter of next year.

Interliant and Vstream will be co-marketed through Vivendi’s
telecommunication firm, Cegetel. Vivendi will also provide resources for technology platforms, management and administrative services.

“Our strategy relies on taking stakes in their capital and providing them with a team force, located in our La Défense building. Our management team is already in place,” said Philippe Germond, Vivendi’s communication director.

Former IBM general manager Pierre Liautaud was appointed CEO of @viso, which was formed in July.

The start-up incubator targets companies in the US who eventually plan to introduce services in Europe. As a broad rule, each of companies said they will develop and market their services in France, Germany, England and Southern Europe.

Vivendi has raised $1.2 billion for their venture fund, $200 million of which came from the company itself. @viso has also formed an early stage Wireless Internet Fund which has raised $100 million.

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