Monday, July 10, 2017

AT&T partners with Coral to launch $200m VC fund

AT&T announced it is committing to invest up to $200 million in a venture capital fund as part of its ongoing effort to develop solutions to address current and emerging technology challenges.

Under the program, AT&T will work with venture capital firm Coral's Communications Industry Platform (CIP) team to identify and invest in start-up companies that are focused on developing technology for connected services and platforms.  AT&T and Coral will also seek to identify additional companies interested in investing in the fund.

The new fund will specifically invest in technologies that run on the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) operating system for software-defined networks. AT&T noted that ONAP was created through the merging of a platform developed by AT&T Labs and an existing open source project.

ONAP is currently being used to manage the company's own cloud network, and is now an open source platform hosted by the Linux Foundation that is increasingly being adopted as the standard for virtualised networks worldwide.

AT&T stated that this latest investment initiative builds on its existing innovation programs that encompass AT&T Labs and the AT&T Foundry innovation centre that were established in 2011 to support work with the start-up companies and the open source community.

Coral Group is a venture capital firm that specialises in telecom systems integration, Internet-based consumer and enterprise-facing applications and services. The Communications Industry Platform (CIP) combines venture capital and integrated solutions to help communication service providers address strategic challenges. Coral has provided VC funding to companies including Calix, Flexlight Networks, Infinera and Picolight.


Regarding the initiative, Andre Fuetsch, CTO and president of AT&T Labs, noted, "This investment is part of AT&T's push to address the needs of global service providers… it will collaborate with Coral and other CIP members to find, and even create, start-up companies to build disruptive technologies to solve these challenges".


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