Orange, Facebook TIPs hat to start-ups to foster infrastructure innovation

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Orange and Facebook have launched a new start-up accelerator programme aimed at fostering innovation in network infrastructure.

The Telecom Track accelerator will give start-ups access to Orange's network resources and support from Facebook.

Orange is one of the members of the Facebook-led Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), working with the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Nokia to make hardware more innovative.

[Read more: Facebook reveals new wireless technologies in connectivity push]

Telecom Track will sit within the Orange Fab Accelerator programme, with start-ups also able to call on advice from other TIP members, as well as the ability to tap into external and internal investment opportunities.

The start-ups will also have access to the other benefits of the Orange Fab programme, which is located at its Parisian eco-campus Orange Gardens (pictured at its opening last year), such as workshops, mentoring sessions, an optional €15,000 in funding and work space.

Candidates will have until 14 May to submit their entries, with selected start-ups invited to join the project three weeks later.

They will then pitch to executives from Orange, TIP, Facebook and venture capitalists in June, followed by a further pitching session at a TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Centre later this year in San Francisco.

Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice-President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange, said: “As part of our network evolution towards 5G and future technologies, there is a huge opportunity to innovate at the network level, and a need to support the bright minds and talents that will keep pushing telecoms innovation forward.

“We believe that with our partnership with Facebook and the opening of the new Telecom Track, we are able to encourage and support this community of start-ups, which has the ability to really disrupt this space and develop new innovation within telecoms.”

Jay Parikh, Head of Engineering and Infrastructure, Facebook, added: “Working together, we hope to help identify and support telecoms network infrastructure innovation while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.”

Last month BT became the latest telco to join the Telecoms Infrastructure Project.