The 5G Innovation Ecosystem

Developing Use Cases with 25 Startups to Watch in 5G

Executive Summary

Startups are enabling digital transformation in the adoption of 5G networks. 5G startups are building next-generation smart network infrastructure and also piloting use cases across industries that take advantage of the performance advancements of 5G connections.

How will 5G startups enable digital transformation?

5G startups are developing innovations in next-generation networking hardware and software. They are also developing capabilities enabled by 5G networks’ low latency, higher throughput, and increased density of connections.

How are corporate venture capital funds investing in 5G-enabled startups?

Venture funds are getting back to their roots to support capital-intensive innovations in networking, robotics, cloud and edge computing, and AI.

What are some use cases for 5G connectivity?

Startups are helping pilot and validate key use cases across industries, such as logistics automation, remote patient monitoring, and augmented reality (AR) for field operations.

What are the top startups to watch in 5G?

We identified five key startups innovating with 5G in each of these five areas: networking software and automation; networking hardware; robotics and autonomous vehicles; AR, virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (XR); and healthcare. Standouts include Celona, Movandi, Pensando, Vecna Robotics, and Zyter.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? In addition to spotlighting 25 key startups to watch, we examine the ecosystem supporting 5G startups—including corporate venture capital funds, incubators, accelerators, studios, and labs.

KEY STAT: Telecoms have diversified their venture capital investments across industries, including healthcare and media, to support applications that take advantage of more of the value chain enabled by 5G networks.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Key Points
  3. Startups Demonstrate Tomorrow’s 5G Use Cases
  4. The 5G Venture Funding Landscape
  1. 5G Startup Support: Accelerators, Incubators, Studios, and Labs
  2. 25 Startups to Watch in 5G
  3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Jim Brisimitzis
5G Open Innovation Lab
Founder and General Partner
Interviewed January 14, 2021
Matthew Cherewka
Vecna Robotics
Director, Business Development
Interviewed January 20, 2021
Rory Moore
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed January 28, 2021
Elise Neel
Vice President, New Business Incubation
Interviewed January 20, 2021
Jiren Parikh
Ghost Robotics
President and CEO
Interviewed January 20, 2021
Satish Rao
Chief Product Officer
Interviewed January 15, 2021
John Saw
Executive Vice President, Advanced and Emerging Technologies
Interviewed January 29, 2021

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Sara M. Watson


Rahul Chadha
Director, Report Editing
Jim Davis
Principal Analyst
Caroline Fulford
Senior Researcher
Rayna Hollander
Chris Keating
Director, Research
Victoria Petrock
Principal Analyst
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst