The world of 5G is a diverse one. Within the industry, there are several areas that the newest generation in wireless communication continues to explore. Similarly, the increasingly digital nature of our lives has led to new discoveries and innovations created in the 5G space and has continued to have a meaningful effect on virtually every industry.
This is what makes so many 5G startups exciting to watch. From automated processes, improved cybersecurity, driverless vehicles, remote surgeries, immersive video games in the palms of your hands, smart cities that reduce traffic, and so much more are all on the horizon. Companies are working on these solutions, new devices, and new processes, but as opportunistic as this space may be, there are also quite a few hurdles to jump.
Qualcomm Ventures is a division of the superconductor powerhouse Qualcomm which provides funding and support for a range of entrepreneurial efforts gaining momentum in 5G in other related wireless endeavors. Working throughout seven main regions, including the United States, China, Europe, Korea, Latin America, India, and Israel, the company can help the businesses materialize and execute their innovations more effectively.
Qualcomm is a Major Player in 5G
Supporting 5G startups is a tall task, but if there is anyone who is qualified, it would be Qualcomm. The company has been around since 1985, with its Qualcomm Ventures efforts ongoing since 2000. As a multi-billion dollar company, you would be hard-pressed to find 5G communications happening without a Qualcomm component involved in the U.S.
There are a lot of areas in which Qualcomm has its hand in, but connecting devices through cellular communication is probably its biggest focus. Specializing in creating world-class semiconductors, the company ranked third in the United States and number six in the world in Q1 for semiconductor sales. Advancing the interests of 5G startups helps the startup itself, Qualcomm, and the overall development of 5G throughout various countries.
Cristiano Amon is now serving as the leader of Qualcomm. He and the company are now looking to further diversify outside of mobile with the increase 5G is bringing to wireless networks.
How Qualcomm Ventures Helps 5G Startups
In 2019, Qualcomm Ventures began the Qualcomm Ventures 5G Global Ecosystem Fund. This initiative would see Qualcomm investing $200 million into companies working in the 5G arena. Companies that are a good fit and share the same vision as Qualcomm on 5G receive the funding to help with their development. These “key investment focus areas” are:
- 5G use cases from applications and services using 5G characteristics.
- Network transformation focusing on automated, virtualized network features.
- End-to-end privatized network solutions for companies.
5G startups that meet these criteria and gain support from Qualcomm Ventures also receive:
- Access to several investors.
- Network events that are organized by Qualcomm.
- Assistance from Qualcomm’s 5G technical experts.
- Support from both Qualcomm’s Investment Team and Operations Team.
- Help with scaling their business globally.
- And more!
5G Areas of Interest
Within Qualcomm Ventures, there are many areas of investment beyond 5G. However, as we see 5G networks spreading, it becomes harder to separate the future of technology from the fifth generation of wireless. 5G uses more capacity for data transfer, faster speeds than ever before, and latency levels that are so low they are unlocking new possibilities. In addition to 5G, these are the main industries related to Qualcomm Ventures receiving investment and support:
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Enterprise and Cloud
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
A fund similar to the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund, known as the AI Fund, was launched in 2018 by the company focusing on the advancement of AI. Both funds work hand-in-hand to advance the interests of 5G, AI, and the areas in which they intersect.
So far, Qualcomm Ventures has helped many notable names who have exited the incubator and become household names including, FitBit, Ring Waze, Zoom, and more. The company’s current 5G portfolio includes Altiostar, Cellwize, and Opensignal to name a few.
The Future of 5G Entrepreneurship
All three of America’s major nationwide wireless providers launched their 5G networks in 2020. The soon-to-be fourth major provider, DISH Wireless, is still working on its deployment with Las Vegas as the first market to be launched by the end of 2021 and others to follow. 5G in America and around the world is still just beginning. There are plenty of exciting projects, and coverage continues to grow, but this is a space that is just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Entrepreneurs providing solutions in the 5G landscape have a lot more to develop with exciting solutions on the horizon to transform our lives. Thanks to initiatives such as Qualcomm Ventures, we should all reap the benefits of these 5G startups sooner rather than later.
Do you have a 5G startup in need of funding and support? Business owners looking to submit their business plan can do so by speaking with a Qualcomm Ventures representative or by emailing the company at 5GFund@qti.qualcomm.com.