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Facebook launches telco infrastructure accelerator with Orange

Facebook launches telco infrastructure accelerator with Orange
From TechCrunch - April 24, 2017

Back in February, the Facebook-led Telecom Infrastructure Project led a call to put $170 million into startups focusing on solutions toimprove infrastructure: the switching technologies, engineering, cablingand other componentsthat go into building networking for internet and other communications services. Today comes one more advance on that front: Facebook and the TIP are working with French telco Orange to launch a new Telecom Track in the Orange Fab accelerator based in Paris to find more startups to fill this niche.

Not too much is being divulged on what kinds of startups are being sought out, except to say that they will need to be based in France for the accelerator. The partnership will look to pursue the best innovations and talent within the sector, Orange notes, with the selected startups getting mentorship from Facebook; other TIP members(there are dozens including carriers like Vodafone, Millicom, Airtel and BCS; tech companies like Intel; and infrastructure companies like Nokia); and Orange.

This is the first time that Orange has worked with a corporate partner for Fab, and it is the first time that it haslaunched a specific track around a vertical, an Orange spokesperson confirmed for us.

Facebook is looking forward to working with Orange and TIP to support this start-up accelerator, said Jay Parikh, head of engineering and infrastructure, Facebook. Working together, we hope to help identify and support telecoms network infrastructure innovation while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.

Startups have until May 14 to apply. Those selectedwere trying to get more information on just how many but have yet to get a replywill get 15,000 ($16,300) as part of the program. Three weeks into the program, they get the chance to pitch their ideas to Orange, TIP, Facebook executives, VCs and other partners from across the TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Center network (these are located in other regions like the UK).

Then at the end of the year, the selected startups will be invited to pitch at an event in San Francisco.

Facebooks interest in playing a role at the infrastructure level is useful for the company for at least threebig reasons.

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