Our Program

A Collaborative Enterprise 5G and Edge Innovation Program.

The combination of edge and 5G will propel $3 trillion in annual digital transformation this decade. What’s missing is a community bringing together innovative startups, platforms, and industry that focuses on doing, not hype. This is our mission. 

Our developer friendly program is purpose built to leverage the entrepreneurial talent of startups with the entrepreneurial resources of enterprise companies. Our thesis focus has created a unique community of Founders building a variety of applications and infrastructure solutions. Our ecosystem approach is a first in the tech startup world.  

We don’t believe in cookie cutter approaches which is why we aren’t an accelerator. 5G and edge are too dynamic for that. Twice a year (Spring and Fall) we welcome 15 startups to our ecosystem for a 12 week engagement. Each team admitted into our program creates their own outcomes for a tailored approach to growth and scale. During these 12 weeks we become your business advisor and open strategic doors to achieve your outcomes. 

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Program Pillars

Startup Success Stories

What Startups Get

What’s in our program

What’s not in our program

What We Look For

As 5G and the edge continues to evolve, so will what we're looking for in startups. Today we look for multi-stage companies from Seed to Series C who are using connectivity and edge compute to solve market wide needs. 

 BUSINESS MODELS

Focused on all aspects of the enterprise stack

• IaaS • PaaS • SaaS


TECHNOLOGY SECTORS

Harnessing future use cases across edge compute and connectivity

• AI • Autonomous • Cyber Security • Distributed Computing • Enterprise XR • IoT • Real Time Data • Robotics


MARKET SEGMENTS

Growth segments with the highest applicability for private cellular networking, edge compute and connectivity

• Agriculture • Energy and Utilities • Enterprise Transformation • Healthcare • Manufacturing • Transport and Logistics

 

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Why Apply to the 5G Open Innovation Lab

Our value to you as a startup founder or developer is giving you access to the best 5G ecosystem of corporate, technical and business partners to help you solve any technical or sales roadblock you and your team are facing.

You'll also have access to the best startups leading the way in edge and connectivity through our 45+ alumni network. If you're looking to grow into a new vertical or looking for a complimentary product to co-sell with, the alumni network is where you can make that happen on demand.

5G Open Innovation Lab is accepts applications on a rolling basis and selects 15 companies twice a year to participate

Frequently Asked Questions

What is enterprise 5G and edge technology and why is it important?

5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. The new network technology will deliver faster download speeds, real-time responses, and enhanced connectivity. 

Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed to improve response times and save bandwidth.

5G and edge computing combined will bridge the physical and digital worlds by connecting people, devices and data in new ways enabling networks to discern and adapt to change and ultimately deliver capabilities that make the network and business more intelligent. Our shared vision for remote surgery, precision agriculture, smart cities and autonomous everything will be realized, because of 5G connectivity and computing on the edge. Moving high volumes of data, at a faster speed, will require approaches to technology that enable real-time processing, and this will also fuel the need and adoption of edge computing. 

Do I need to relocate to Seattle if I’m accepted?

No, the program is 100% virtual. Startups from anywhere in the world can apply. 

Lasting 12 weeks, the Spring program starts Mid-March and the Fall program starts Mid-September. Founders need to allocate approximately 3 hours per week to attend 1:1s, executive roundtables and respond to strategic introductions.

Why would a later stage company join the program?

Series A is a sweet spot for us because at this stage, this batch we have two series C companies and there the company elects the CTO and or CRO to be the lead contact with the focus of the engagement being about new customer introductions and product development.

Do I need to pay to be a part of the program?

No, we do not require startups to pay a fee or give up equity to be a part of the program. 

What do you look for in evaluating applications?
We're looking for multi-stage companies (seed and up) to solve industry pain points leveraging 5G, edge compute, and enterprise transformation. We rate companies against the 3 domains of our thesis:
  1. Business Model: what part of the enterprise stack does your product serve? Iaas, Paas or Saas 
  2. Technology Type: how do your products/services leverage cellular and edge compute? E.g AI; autonomous everything; cyber security; distributed computing; enterprise XR; IoT; real time data; and robotics.
  3. Market Segments: are you service growth segments with the highest applicability for private cellular, edge compute and connectivity? E.g agriculture; energy and utilities; enterprise transformation; healthcare; manufacturing; transportation and logistics.
Beyond thesis alignment, we look at your team, how long you've been working together and known one another. We prefer teams that have a mix of technical and business founders with initial customer traction. We prefer founders that hire for diversity of background, skill and experience.
 

We also look for traction and customer engagement. Many startups focus indiscriminately on their product which can lead to solution bias where founders try and fit their product into an existing market need/problem, as opposed to designing it first from a genuine customer/industry problem. Traction can take the form of monthly reoccurring revenue, monthly active users and also take the form of committed pilot partners, commercial contracts or proof of concepts. Viable 5G use cases need customers to support profitable businesses.

Do you accept solo founders?

We will consider solo founders who have a solid team around them.

What stage companies do you accept?

Because our program is purpose built for each startup, we accept all stage companies from seed and above. Timing is important, our program is best suited to startups who are already engaged with and built to meet enterprise demand.

When is the application due?

You can apply at any time as we accept applications on a rolling basis. To make the interviews or the Spring program, applications should be in by November 15 and for the Fall program they should be submitted on or before May 15.

When will I be notified after submitting that I am moving forward in the process?

For the Spring Program (starting Mid-March) we hold interviews in December, notifying applicants in late January.

For the Fall Program (starting Mid-September) we hold interviews in June, notifying applicants in late July.

Do accepted companies receive investment from the Lab?

No, at present we do not invest in accepted companies. Admitted startups have access to our 90+ top and mid tier VC and CVC network. We facilitate these introductions in both directions, many investors tell us which startups they'd like to meet. Investors in our network include Venrock, March Capital, Touchdown Ventures, Intel Capital, Dell Technologies Capital and Mayfield.

Who are the backers of the Program?

Our Founding and Corporate Partners have funded the Lab and our programs.  Technical and professional advice and discounted products and services are provided by our Technical and Business Partners, and all accepted companies have access credits from AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft for Startups (Azure).

Do I need to be a U.S. company to participate?

No. We are growing a global ecosystem.

For startups wanting to fundraise from US investors through our VC network, formal presence here may be required (by the investor, not by the Lab).  It’s obvious, but sharing just in case.  

How many startups will be accepted each round?

We accept 15 companies per program with two programs per year (Spring and Fall). Each program lasts 12 weeks.

When and where is the program?

The program is 100% virtual. Lasting 12 weeks, the Spring program starts Mid-March and the Fall program starts Mid-September. Founders need to allocate approximately 3 hours per week to attend 1:1s, executive roundtables and respond to strategic introductions.

What can startups expect if they are accepted to the program?

There are 3 core activities we support startups on:

  1. Product & Solution Deployment: Partner with our Founding and Corporate Partners on an interoperable platform to effectively scale your technology

  2. GTM Opportunities: Co-Create Go-to-Market Opportunities and Enterprise use cases with our Enterprise Partners, fellow batch companies and alumni network

  3. Round Syndication: Access our network of over 90+ Co-Investors that become your capital partners during scale

Each week we follow the following cadence:

  • Monday Joe with Jim: all hands meeting for startups to hear Lab updates, get briefed on executive round tables, and solve common founder problems
  • Bi-weekly 1:1s: founders meet with the Lab team to identify strategic introductions and solve pressing BD and technical challenges.
  • Executive Roundtables: hosted by VPs and up who provide insights on how startups can create use cases for what they're looking for.
  • Strategic Introductions: respond to emails to technical and executive BD teams for GTM with our Enterprise Partners.
Is this an incubator or accelerator?

Our program is more like portfolio management than it is like an incubator/accelerator. 

There are plenty of great accelerators out there, their approach is often high volume, provide the same content and is often stage specific. They host sprints, office-hours, AMAs, panels. 

Our program is about amplifying and extending startups existing product and BD efforts. It's about connecting startups to enterprise leaders to drive innovation for the entire ecosystem.  We spend our time with founders making strategic introductions, hosting VP and executive roundtables to give founders corporate level market insights, and syndicating startups to more easily close their next round.

What testing and prototyping facilities are available at the Lab?

Through our Field Labs, startups can experiment and collaborate to develop commercially viable use cases.  The foundation of the field lab is a dynamic testing platform with dedicated access to a 5G-capable, CBRS LTE private network. Each site connects to an edge computing environment allowing developers to tap into cloud computing capabilities essential for latency-sensitive and compute-intensive applications. 

Starting with agriculture, this co-development platform is the first of many we plan to deploy in the future serving other industries. We believe that better connectivity and edge computing are the future and are working with our partners and ecosystem companies to make that vision a reality.

Accepted startups get access to T-Mobile's 5G network and sims. 

Venture Capital Ecosystem

The 5G Open Innovation Lab also has a robust Enterprise Co-investor network with over 80+ firms who moderately and actively engage with multi-stage companies that come through the program.

As companies come into our lab, we believe it’s important to introduce the right capital partners to help them scale, alongside the commercial efforts we’re facilitating. Investors typically engage with our startups on a quarterly basis.

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