Qualcomm launches $200M 5G investment fund

The fund is designed to support early-stage startups developing 5G applications beyond smartphones.

2020 is the year for the 5G network market, report

Qualcomm on Thursday announced it's launching a new fund to invest up to $200 million in early-stage startups developing 5G applications beyond smartphones. As Qualcomm puts in substantial effort to bring 5G to market, it's hoping the new fund will accelerate 5G innovation and adoption. 

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Over the next four years, the Qualcomm Ventures 5G Ecosystem Fund will support start-ups across the 5G value chain, including those building devices, networking and communications, and applications and services.

Qualcomm has said it's well positioned for next year's 5G ramp up. US carriers are all on track to offer nationwide 5G coverage by mid-2020, and there will be more operators and devices launching with 5G relative to 4G in the same time frame, the company says.

However, Qualcomm argues the real potential of 5G is beyond the smartphone market. 

"5G will transform industries and should be viewed as a business strategy for all," Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in a statement. "The intent of this fund is too fuel innovative 5G businesses that will be poised to take advantage of the $13.2T economic benefit that 5G will enable by 2035."

The fund will be managed by Qualcomm Ventures, the company's venture capital investment group. Qualcomm Ventures has made more than 350 investments since its founding in 2000, including investments in Zoom, Cloudflare, AMEC, Xiaomi, Cruise Automation, 99, Thundersoft, Fitbit and Waze. Last year, Qualcomm launched the Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund to invest in startups using on-device AI. 

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