Two high-profile Financial Times vets 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 news service, based in New York, will be aimed at consultants and investment analysts, and focus on business news in more than 100 countries. Much of its focus will be on emerging markets finance. It will have an editorial staff of more than 40. 3i plc, a London-based venture capital firm, led a $7 million investment in eCountries.com.