BT, Telecom Infra Project and Facebook back three new start-ups

By:
Natalie Bannerman
Published on:

Zeetta Networks, KETS and Unmanned Life are named as the first three start-up to be admitted to the UK Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre

BT, Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Facebook have announced the first three winners to be admitted into the UK Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC), based at BT’s Adastral Park in Suffolk

The three small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will gain access to a pool of £125 million in venture capital funding as well as support and mentoring from industry experts to help develop new technologies focussed on boosting global connectivity, improving network user experience and lowering the cost of network infrastructure.

Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer for London, said: “Fostering innovation is absolutely vital to the economic growth of both London and rest of the UK, so it’s great to see the telecom community coming together to boost SMEs and develop solutions that will help tackle the challenges facing the UK’s digital infrastructure. We need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to developing our networks and security, which is why it’s so important that organisations like BT, TIP and Facebook are collaborating with small businesses in tech hubs to bring the very best innovations to market.”

The three winners are: UnManned Life, an autonomous AI drone-based technology platform; KETS Quantum Security, the developers of a cost-effective quantum chip which could potentially boost security for the finance and government sectors and Zeetta Networks, that uses software-defined networking technology to enable on-demand, network virtualisation and intent-based programmability software.

Yael Maguire, VP of connectivity at Facebook said “Facebook is looking forward to working with BT and TIP to support this start-up accelerator. Working together, we hope to help identify and support innovation from start-ups in telecom network infrastructure while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.”   

All three companies had to pitch before a panel of judges from BT, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Orange and TIP which took place at BT Tower. More selection rounds will be held throughout the year as the UK TEAC expands.

Howard Watson, CEO of BT technology, service and operations, said: “It’s more important than ever before that we seek expertise not only from our home-grown talent and established partners, but also from newly created small businesses.  By helping innovative SMEs like Zeetta Networks, KETS and Unmanned Life to grow, to scale up, and access the funding they need to develop even more successful businesses, we’re supporting the development of technologies that have the potential to tackle some of our society’s biggest challenges around connectivity, around security, and accessibility of digital services.” 

The TEAC initiative is part of TIP which was founded last year by EE, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Nokia, Intel and SK Telecom. The purpose of the engineering focused initiative is to develop new telecoms hardware and systems. The TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC) in the UK, is the programme announced by BT, TIP and Facebook earlier this year, which will help SMEs working in the field of network infrastructure to bring their innovative ideas to market more rapidly. Deutsche Telekom, only last month announced another initiative under TIP in the areas of mmWave technology and network innovation.