The 5G Open Innovation Lab — a global ecosystem of developers, startups, enterprises, academia, and government institutions — announced May 19 the opening of its lab and launch of its inaugural program in Bellevue for startups and their founders. The first cohort consists of 17 companies utilizing 5G technology to develop new applications and markets, according to a lab news release.

Founding partners T-Mobile, Intel, and NASA are pooling engineering, technology, and industry resources to provide the lab and selected startups with advanced access to platforms to develop, test, and bring to market new use cases that unleash the potential of 5G networks. The first program runs through July 17.

“Our first program provides startups with virtual access to mentors and tools to collaborate directly with technology and business leaders to design and bring to life their vision and dreams for new 5G applications,” Jim Brisimitzis, general partner of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, said in the release. “We’ve adapted our program into a virtual format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Members of the first cohort that will participate in a 12-week program. Startups collaborate with 5G technology experts and business advisers through CEO and CTO roundtables, private working sessions to explore challenges and opportunities, and virtual networking and social events. Founders also will be introduced to leaders in the venture capital community. Content driving the program includes business planning, corporate development, and engineering, and will culminate in a Demo Day showcase to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones achieved.

“5G has the potential to transform our world by enabling new, groundbreaking applications,” Neville Ray, president of technology at Bellevue-based T-Mobile, said in the release. “Through efforts like the 5G Open Innovation Lab, we’re providing developers and startups with the tools to unleash transformative services for people across the country, benefiting everything from entertainment and gaming to education and public safety.”

In addition to three companies in stealth mode, the first cohort includes the following startups:

  • Aarna Networks – 5G/edge app orchestration, management, and automation;
  • Evolute – Enterprise container migration, management, and optimization;
  • – Platform to manage global Enterprise IoT connectivity;
  • Iunu – Computer vision platform for greenhouse-based agriculture and tracking;
  • Gybe – HW platform and edge service for employee connectivity;
  • Mutable – AirBnB for servers (distributed public edge);
  • NLM – Optical computing materials and design;
  • Numurus – Making robots smarter;
  • Omnivor – Holographic real-time and on-demand video platform;
  • OptiPulse – Optical fronthaul mesh networking;
  • PlutoVR – Spatial communications platform;
  • Scivista – Collaborative, virtual reality data visualization;
  • Taqtile – AR/VR platform for frontline workers;
  • Transparent Path – Building a more agile, efficient, and predictive food supply chain.

The current cohort and potential candidates for future cohorts are at various stages of development and have initiated fundraising, including Series A rounds of $15 million or more. The lab does not take an equity position in the startup companies, rather, those selected have access to a unique partner ecosystem including 5G network and development tools, one-on-one engineering mentorships, and knowledge sharing. Applications are being accepted online for the fall program at the lab website. Applications are due June 22.

Avanade, an Accenture/Microsoft joint venture and a leading digital innovator on the Microsoft ecosystem, has joined the lab as a business ecosystem partner to support founders as they develop their 5G development and integration strategies. The lab also has also partnered with Google Cloud for Startups and AWS Activate to enable entrepreneurs to host 5G services and run and test code closer to the user to improve performance and reduce latency. More than 20 additional business, technical, and community partners have joined the lab and serve as mentors and advisers.

Sponsored by the city of Bellevue, the lab also is a founding member of Washington’s newest Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ), a statewide initiative administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce to stimulate regional economic growth by strengthening industry clusters and 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 Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Snohomish County, Washington State University, and the University of Washington.