The Dekalo-Ben-Yehuda investment bank, which specializes in technology companies and raising funds through private placements, has been appointed to represent

France Telecom

(NYSE:FTE) in all of its Israeli interests related to venture capital. So said Amir Ben Yehuda, a partner in the Israeli investment bank.

As part of the agreement, Dekalo-Ben-Yehuda will seek out investments, locate and invest in startups, and arrange joint ventures on behalf of the French conglomerate.

Until now France Telecom has only been indirectly active in the Israeli market, mostly through the venture capital firm

Jerusalem Venture Partners

(JVP). It was JVP that suggested the French company invest in

Chromatis Networks

before it was sold to

Lucent Technologies

(NYSE:LU) but France Telecom declined.

Dekalo-Ben-Yehuda says there was stiff competition for the right to represent the French concern in Israel.

France Telecom is one of the largest communications firms in the world. In addition to its investments through JVP, the concern has invested in other international telephone companies and in startups such as