1. What is Qualcomm’s 5G Ecosystem Fund?
On October 24, 2019, Qualcomm announced the launch of the Qualcomm Ventures 5G Global Ecosystem Fund to invest up to $200 million in companies developing innovative solutions across the entire 5G value chain.
This fund will invest in startups that share Qualcomm Ventures’ vision to transform yet-to-be seen innovations and technologies into reality by using the power of 5G. We have defined 3 key investment focus for the 5G Fund, which encompass innovation all the way from silicon and devices, to application and services. The key investment focus areas are defined below.
We’re excited about what this strategic initiative represents in terms of fostering innovation in the 5G ecosystem and accelerating the adoption of 5G beyond smartphones.
2. What are the key investment focus areas for the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund?
We will invest in innovative startups across the entire 5G ecosystem — including silicon, devices, foundational networking technologies, 5G applications and end-to-end connectivity services for enterprises and end consumers.
Some of the key investment themes for the 5G Ecosystem Fund are described below:
5G Use Cases:
Applications and services that uniquely leverage some of the 5G specific characteristics, typically high data throughput (10x to 20x faster than traditional 4G Networks) and/or very low latency (typically below 10 ms).
Examples of domains for this investment theme include: cloud mobile gaming, real time HD video streaming, tactile internet, immersive reality, wireless cloud office, real time advanced robotics, autonomous driving systems, and many others.
Solutions that enable smart networks – fully software-defined, hyper-automated and completely virtualized will become foundational in order to accommodate the extremely fast, secure and almost instantaneous connections enabled by 5G.
Examples of domains for this investment theme include: AI-based network management, virtualized RAN, infra edge computing, 5G mobile core, V2X Systems and many others.
End-to-End innovative connectivity models for enterprises
End-to-end solutions that enable Enterprise Private Networks, allowing companies of different sizes to have improved control over their operations. The high level of bandwidth and low latency offered by 5G is ideal for several use cases and is a driving factor for the industrial IoT and industry 4.0 initiatives.
Examples of domains for this investment theme include: service providers for 5G private networks, spectrum controller providers, cloud-based service orchestrator, virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC) providers, etc.
Additional details about the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund can be found at 5G Ecosystem Fund: Making the full potential of 5G a reality.
3. What is the decision-making process for investments that are part of the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund?
The investment approval process for investments that are part of the 5G fund follow the same decision-making process that all Qualcomm Ventures deals undergo. The governance is based on the same rules and approving entities.
All the deals are assessed based on the potential for strategic and financial returns - Qualcomm Ventures aims to perform strategically relevant, yet financially attractive investments.
4. Will Qualcomm Ventures in companies outside of the US for the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund?
Yes. Our objective is to help accelerate the global adoption of 5G. Qualcomm Ventures has local presence in 6 geographies (US, Latin America, Israel, Europe, China and India) and leverages its global presence to identify best-of-breed, disruptive startup innovation across the globe. Thus, the intent is to invest in companies across the globe where we have presence.
5. Will the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund invest in early stage companies only?
Qualcomm Ventures is stage agnostic and has flexibility to invest in companies of different sizes and at different stages. That said, given that 5G is still incipient, it is expected that most investments will be seed rounds, series A and B.
6. Is there a deadline to submit deal applications for the fund?
No. The 5G Global Ecosystem Fund is not structured like a contest. We expect to deploy this capital over the course of 4 years. Entrepreneurs can contact Qualcomm Ventures at any time to present a business plan for their respective startup.
7. Will Qualcomm Ventures lead rounds as part of the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund investment?
Qualcomm Ventures is very comfortable leading transactions in areas where we have deep expertise, which is the case for companies that fit the criteria for the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund. That said, we are also comfortable joining other investors as part of a funding round, helping the lead investor with the technology and business due diligence process.
8. What value does Qualcomm Ventures provide to startups?
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator, inventing foundational technologies, like 5G, that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates.
The 5G Ecosystem Fund builds on Qualcomm’s cutting-edge 5G research and its heritage of inventing breakthrough technologies. This also uniquely positions Qualcomm Ventures with a deep understanding of the technologies that are essential for 5G along with a truly global network that startups can leverage to scale their businesses.
Examples of value that Qualcomm Ventures can provide which startups might leverage include:
- Organized networking events that help connect startups with key decision makers in the 5G space
- Global network of investors, which can provide insights and introductions for startups in the process of global expansion
- Access to Qualcomm’s network of technical experts in 5G
- Credibility and positive brand association as a result of having a leading 5G company as an investor
- Support with building investment syndicates, through a strong network of investors with interest in 5G (corporates and pure financial investors)
Qualcomm’s industry-leading research and pioneering development of 5G will allow Qualcomm Ventures to serve as an ideal investor for startups that can leverage 5G’s capabilities and bring forth the next wave of innovation.
9. Qualcomm Ventures launched an AI Fund in 2018. Does the 5G Global Ecosystem Fund complement the AI Fund?
The combination of 5G with pervasive Artificial Intelligence, embedded on smart devices (such as cameras, drones or robots) or in a distributed cloud architecture, will exponentialize the benefits of the technology and bring an unprecedented level of intelligence to the whole system.
5G will facilitate intelligence distributed across the cloud, edge cloud and on-device, with 5G as the connectivity fabric that allows AI to scale to handle the deluge of data from billions of connected devices and objects. As such, our 5G Global Ecosystem Fund is highly complementary to the AI Fund we announced last year and completes our vision for accelerating a connected and intelligent future.
10. I am a founder of a startup focused on 5G – How can I submit my business plan?
You can reach Qualcomm Ventures investment professionals directly or send an email to 5GFund@qti.qualcomm.com.