5G and Beyond: Pioneering the Next Tech Revolution with The Lab's Brightest

Jim Brisimitzis
8 min readSep 13, 2023

Today, we’ll be delving into three main topics:

1. Understanding 5G: Its uniqueness, its position as an inflection point, and the need to think differently.

2. Introducing the 8th Batch: Get acquainted with the teams from The Lab’s latest launch.

3. Preparing for Batch 9 (Spring 2024): We’re recruiting and will share what we’re on the lookout for.


South Korea launched the first 5G network in 2019, marking the beginning of what could be a 12–15 year cycle for the standard. Promises of faster bandwidth, lower latency networks, and increased capacity were touted as foundations for innovations like self-driving cars, telemedicine, AR/VR, drones, and robotics. Has the hype matched reality? The answer is complex.

From a mobility perspective, our devices have indeed become faster. Some have adopted fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband at home. Enterprises might benefit from a dedicated network slice. According to the GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2023 report, the buildout of standalone 5G networks progresses steadily. It suggests that Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are projected to invest $1.5 trillion in new standalone 5G networks by 2030. Download the report here. Such vast investment comes with uncertainties regarding ROI. Last week, Indian CSPs requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to mandate OTT providers contribute to network deployment costs. Europe sees similar discussions.

Currently, CSPs face a crucial decision. They can continue traditional mobility use cases, like FWA. Or, they can transform their network into a platform for demanding applications (e.g., robo-taxis, AI data processing) which ISVs can leverage. I’ve often faced skepticism for this suggestion. But repeating the same strategies while expecting change seems unwise. After all, mobile devices without apps are mere phones. Why not elevate the app game to the network level?

I don’t aim to merely stir the pot, but I believe in advocating for a fresh perspective on a company’s assets. Industries at inflection points, like now, benefit from innovative thinking. Here are some examples:

1. Private Networks: Wi-Fi has limitations, especially in vast areas or specific use cases demanding consistent QoS. The solution? Cellular. Predictions show a CAGR of 48.2%, reaching $129.6B by 2030. The market is growing as more entities join.

2. Spectrum Leasing: Public spectrum availability is limited, particularly in the US. While CBRS has initiated a new market, rising demand will either compel federal officials to open more spectrum or encourage Telcos to lease their inventory.

3. Edge Computing: This emerging market projects a CAGR of 37.9%, with potential spending hitting $155.9B by 2030. The question for Telcos is whether they embrace this or stay their current course.

Consider Microsoft’s transition from on-premises to cloud, which saw its market cap leap from $303B in 2014 to over $2.5T. NVIDIA’s rise from ~$11B due to GPU success in gaming and later in AI, reaching over $1.1T. Apple’s growth from $106B in 2009 to $2.8T was fueled by the iPhone and its app ecosystem. These companies created platforms for ISVs to build value. That’s the potential of 5G: a platform for connectivity and computing. Our mission at the Lab? To connect innovative startups with CSPs, global tech platforms, and enterprises, harnessing the vast potential of connectivity, computing, and applications. Have a look at our alumni solutions we demonstrated at this year’s Summer Social.


Today, we’re excited to announce our 8th Batch, featuring 17 outstanding companies. Notably, two of these companies, Kallipr and Intuitive Robotics, are joining us from Australia for the first time. The teams in Batch #8 include:

  • Airspace — At Airspace, we believe in the potential drones have to positively impact the ways in which we do business, deliver services, and respond to emergencies. In order for that to happen, drones need to be flown safely.
  • ASOCSASOCS provides a fully virtualized Private 5G Network solution, along with 5G Positioning Services for enterprises that require mission-critical, data-driven applications. ASOCS products are delivered on a scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
  • Clevon- Clevon develops and manufactures autonomous robot carriers, making last-mile delivery more innovative, environmentally friendly and efficient
  • Cumucore — Cumucore is a light mobile core with Industry 4.0 specific feature set to enable affordable next-generation mobile private networks.
  • Eridan — Eridan is building the world’s first digital sampling radio for 4G, 5G, and beyond.
  • Expanso — Expanso, building upon their open-source project Bacalhau, offers a platform for distributed compute. They orchestrate jobs to run where the data is generated and stored, providing a fast and secure solution for large-scale data processing.
  • Golioth — Golioth is uniquely positioned to enable custom IoT hardware to scale easily from one device to millions.
  • Headspin — HeadSpin enables testing and monitoring of mobile, web, audio/video applications in real-time with AI-based insights
  • Intuitive Robotics — Intuitive Robotics leverages cutting-edge technologies, including 5G, edge computing, computer vision AI, generative AI, IoT, data analytics, and cloud computing, to deliver innovative SaaS solutions capable of addressing complex challenges across diverse industries such as agriculture, renewable energies, oil and gas, mining, and public safety.
  • Kallipr — Kallipr are experts in remote monitoring IoT solutions that automate data generation at the extreme edge, allowing industries to increase operational efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve sustainability.
  • Namla — Namla Cloud provides a platform that allows companies of any size to automatically deploy & manage thousands of edges in the best-optimized way.
  • Nubix — Nubix is an edge native application platform that makes it easy to build, deploy and manage IoT and edge applications.
  • OneLayer — OneLayer provides zero trust security and full asset management capabilities to IoT and other devices connected to a private cellular network.
  • Orion Labs — Orion provides edge-optimized voice collaboration for frontline workers with encrypted, secure Push-to-Talk (PTT), location and media, and Voice AI Commands, Queries and Workflows for process automation.
  • Pratexo — Pratexo brings the benefits of hybrid and distributed cloud computing to the edge of power systems that drive the energy transition.
  • Real Life Robotics — Real Life Robotics is changing the way companies manage their labor. With our customizable cargo robotics platform, BUBs, we help clients fill the labor gap and focus their people on more value-added tasks.
  • Reelables — Reelables smart labels automate data collection with real-time visibility into supply chain operations and performance.


Starting today, our team is dedicating its efforts towards building our 9th batch of companies. With the support of our ecosystem — consisting of enterprise partners, alumni, and VCs — we are striving to curate a robust pipeline of companies to interview.

Our sourcing strategy for Batch #9 represents an evolution in our approach. By leveraging partner-driven data, we aim to refine our sourcing methods. Our enterprise partners, working closely with our Lab, have enabled us to pinpoint the technology sectors and industry landscapes they’re keen to explore.

Technology Focus:

· AI & ML: The integration of AI & ML with edge computing is indeed transformative. We are actively seeking innovations that enhance the deployment of AI models at the edge. Such advancements would enable applications to adapt instantaneously to their environment. Our primary interest lies in AI-driven companies that enrich the edge ecosystem, guided by both application and industry relevance. The combination of 5G with CPUs and GPUs, amplifying inferencing capabilities, is of notable interest. Envision AI applications custom-made for Edge Industries.

· Edge Computing: Our quest continues for solutions that prioritize not only optimized deployments but also pioneering real-time processing. We’re eager to engage with parties offering Edge solutions that are readily deployable. Picture developer-driven and user-friendly approaches that span the edge-to-cloud ecosystem.

· Programmable Networks: As networks become more intricate and challenging to manage, we’re especially interested in teams that are enhancing AI capabilities. These capabilities should aid in autonomous network operations, feature self-healing properties, and provide exposable APIs for developer integration.

· Private 5G: We’re keen on converged wireless solutions that integrate cellular and Wi-Fi technologies, emphasizing ease of deployment, management, and maintenance. The trend we’re observing is a rising interest from enterprises in deploying cellular networks that can be managed similarly to, and coexist harmoniously with, Wi-Fi. Equally essential are technologies that support hybrid networks, facilitating seamless and secure transitions from private to public networks.

· Enterprise Device: As the deployment of private 5G networks escalates, so does the demand for 5G-capable devices. We’re on the lookout for teams pioneering a range of 5G-compatible devices, spanning from cameras and IoT to handhelds and robotics.

· Industrial Metaverse: There’s a growing demand from enterprises for immersive and inclusive collaboration methods in industrial settings to enhance business functionalities and data-driven collaborations. The potential of Industrial XR and digital twins cannot be understated, as they offer tangible benefits for critical operations and the design and creation of new products & services. Imagine frontline workers digitally interacting with machinery or engaging in global collaborative endeavors to address pressing issues or to operate a virtual factory before its actual inception.

· Autonomous Systems & Robotics: If your company is venturing into inspection, quality control, picking, packaging, or labeling, we’re eager to connect. We’re particularly intrigued by the impending era of autonomous manufacturing and distribution.

· Cybersecurity: In an edge-focused and increasingly connected world, the threat landscape expands with the broadening attack surface area. Technologies pertaining to networking, application, data, and device security remain of paramount importance to us.

Industry Targets:

We are focusing on sectors such as Construction, Manufacturing, Utilities, Transportation, Oil & Gas, Retail, Ports, Airports, and Smart Cities. Solutions capable of redefining these sectors with the aforementioned technologies are of paramount interest to us.

Company Stages:

The average fundraising amount for our alumni is nearing $17.7M. We typically excel with teams in the Series A-C stages, though our partners show a preference for Series B-C. We are not an accelerator program; our emphasis is on facilitating outcomes between partners and startups that lead to global scale.


I’m excited about what’s possible. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the fusion of transformative technologies with dynamic industries accelerates an era of unprecedented innovation and opportunity. As we reflect upon what’s possible with 5G, welcome our promising 8th Batch, and gear up for Batch #9, it’s evident that the intersection of technology, business, and collaboration can create unparalleled value. At the Lab, we remain committed to fostering this synergy. By bridging the gap between visionary startups and forward-thinking partners, we aim to catalyze the next wave of industry-defining solutions. We’re excited for the future and invite you to join us on this thrilling journey of discovery, growth, and global impact.