The 5G Open Innovation Lab (5G OI Lab) announced last week the selection of a second group of early- and later-stage startups aimed at improving 5G network performance, reducing latency, and enabling application innovation in hardware and software platforms in the cloud, according to a news release from 5G OI Lab.

The 5G OI Lab is a global ecosystem of developers, enterprises, academics, and government institutions.

The cohort comprises 16 companies that will participate in the 12-week program. Of those companies, four are from the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Walla Walla, Portland, and Vancouver, B.C.), with others from around the U.S. One is from Toronto and another is from Germany.

The lab launched its inaugural program in May with the strategic and financial support of founding partners T-Mobile, Intel, and NASA. Founding partners provide engineering, technology, mentorship, and industry resources to the startups to help them develop, test, and bring to market new use cases that unleash the potential of 5G networks, the release said. The lab doesn’t take an equity stake in the startups. Instead, companies collaborate with 5G technology experts and business advisers through CEO and CTO roundtables, private working sessions, virtual networking, and social events, as well as through opportunities to meet with the lab’s partner network of venture capital firms, 5G OI Lab added.

While a physical 5G OI Lab is not available today, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, development is underway at T-Mobile and the other partners to launch a physical lab that will be available in the spring in the Bellevue area, Rich Phillips, director of communications and strategy for 5G OI Lab, said in an interview.

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Despite running the first lab cohort virtually, a lot was accomplished and the lab was well-received, he said.

To all the startups included in the second cohort, click here.

In the news release, Jim Brisimitzis, general partner of the 5G OI Lab, said, “It’s clear that both enterprise and carrier networks are opening up new opportunities for innovation harnessing the connectivity of 5G with the proximity of edge computing. As an open ecosystem program, we focus on helping both early- and later-stage companies remove technical friction, connect founders with industry mentors and provide unparalleled market access backed by the generous support of our partners.”

Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile, added, “This is a fantastic program giving entrepreneurs and developers — the folks that make the magic happen — direct access to our engineers and business leaders. Only T-Mobile has a network that serves all use cases for 5G and with our launch of the world’s first Standalone 5G network, now is the time to develop the applications that will unleash the potential of 5G.”

The 5G Open Innovation Lab is also a founding member of Washington’s newest Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ), a statewide initiative sponsored by the City of Bellevue and administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce.  The IPZ is designed to stimulate regional economic growth by providing access to intellectual capital, and to accelerate the development of new technologies, marketable products, company formation, and job creation, the release said. The public-private partnership includes members Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Snohomish County, T-Mobile, Washington State University, and the University of Washington.

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