Two high-profile Financial Times veterans have left the London-based daily newspaper to start an online news service, eCountries.com. Donal Smith, former managing director of FT.com, and Jonathan Schmidt, formerly head of the Financial Times' interests in Asia, will launch eCountries.com later this year. The online service, based in New York, will be aimed at consultants and investment analysts, and will cover business news in more than 100 countries. Much of its focus will be on emerging markets finance. 3i plc, a London-based venture capital firm, led a $7 million investment in eCountries.com.