From Microsoft Strategist to Trailblazing Entrepreneur: The Story of Jim Brisimitzis and The 5G Open Innovation Lab

From Microsoft Strategist to Trailblazing Entrepreneur: The Story of Jim Brisimitzis and The 5G Open Innovation Lab

The Story of Jim Brisimitzis and the 5G Open Innovation Lab 

Jim Brisimitzis is the founder of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, an organization with a mission of helping innovative startups, enterprises and global technology platforms collaborate. Jim's passion, entrepreneurial spirit and dedication have inspired him to be a trailblazer within the industry.  

Jim has worked with prominent companies such as Bell Canada, Nortel Networks, Peoplesoft and Oracle but eventually landed at Microsoft, where as head of startup ecosystem engagement for North America he led Microsoft’s strategic partnerships with 26 early-stage accelerator programs across 16 cities. This helped ensure nationwide presence of Microsoft’s vast platforms including Azure, Office, Windows and others. After leaving Microsoft, Jim was inspired to create something new – something that would provide more than just access to products and services. His idea was to create an innovation lab focused on helping founders achieve their product, go-to-market, and fundraising goals while making it much easier for them, enterprises and global technology platforms collaborate.

As a software industry veteran, Jim recognized that there was a better way to innovate through collaboration. He didn't see anything like it in the marketplace, so he created it.  

The 5G Open Innovation Lab was founded with one goal in mind: to create an environment that encourages collaboration among startups, leading enterprises, global technology platforms, and investors; enabling them to come together and develop innovative solutions. The Lab was not built to be a one size fits all type program. Jim understood that there are startups in all different stages of their business journey, so he built a tailored program focused on outcomes supporting Seed stage startups to Series C.

With this goal in mind, Jim developed a platform where companies could share their experience and knowledge to help each other succeed in the ever-changing tech world. The platform offers various services such as mentorship programs, workshops, events, funding opportunities, and much more – all focused on helping companies reach their potential through an open ecosystem. 

When asked what inspired him to build the 5G Open Innovation Lab, "Innovating is hard, especially hard when done in a silo. I’m inspired everyday by the progress that’s possible when you remove silos through bringing people together." 

Jim’s strategic foresight and ability to blend technology futures with market opportunity allowed him to turn his vision into a global, high functioning ecosystem. The strength of the ecosystem continues to shine with a recent $20 million Series A raise by Sunlight and a $24 million Series B raise by Memfault.

The 5G Open Innovation Lab is a collaborative, innovation focused ecosystem of startups, leading enterprises, global technology platforms, and investors working together to drive transformational outcomes, crossing the chasm from bleeding edge to leading edge.  

In addition to creating the 5G Open Innovation Lab, Jim believes in giving back by sharing his knowledge and experience with others who are trying to make their mark in the industry. As such, he often takes part in speaking engagements or events designed to help entrepreneurs get ahead by learning from experienced professionals like himself. Jim recently spoke at T-Mobile’s speaker series on startups where he stole the show. 

When asked what makes Jim so special, managing partner Kurt Steck said, “Jim has an uncanny ability to connect people with a purpose – he can consistently help others develop relationships based upon mutual value creation.” 

The Lab cares about experimenting, doing, and enabling 5G networks as a thriving developer platform. Since inception in early 2020, The Lab has worked with 100+ startups, raised over $1.64 billion in pre and post program venture funding and grown the global presence tremendously. 

Partners love The Lab because of the unique collaborative approach which removes the friction and noise for efficient and valuable visibility and connection to best-of-class startups and technologies to significantly accelerate their product and market development, and ultimately, revenue generation. Our ecosystem shows no sign of slowing with new major partnerships in SK Telecom, GAF, Deloitte, Nokia and Palo Alto Networks.

“At VMware we see network lines unifying between private, hybrid, public, and telco clouds. Enterprises are demanding their applications and services run securely and reliably on any cloud, anywhere. Meeting these expectations requires collaboration across a broad set of technology partners. The 5G Open Innovation Lab gives us a unique opportunity to work together with start-ups and industry leading partners to prove out new 5G & Edge use cases, to proactively tackle innovation challenges.” 

Phil Kippen – Senior director, customer success – architects. 

Jim Brisimitzis is an inspirational leader who has dedicated his life to helping others achieve success through innovative ideas backed up by hard work and dedication. From his time at Microsoft as a corporate strategist to launching his own venture with the 5G Open Innovation Lab – Jim’s story is one of motivation for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere who want to make their own mark on this ever-evolving industry we call “tech”!  

CIOs and startup companies alike can benefit from reading about Jim's journey into entrepreneurship - so if you're looking for inspiration or advice for your business endeavors then be sure to check out The Lab.

Posted February 23, 2023

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