AT&T Backs ONAP-Focused VC Fund

AT&T is putting its money where its concerns are, committing up to $200 million to a venture capital fund that targets startups, with an eye to focusing that talent on technology related to global service providers in general and ONAP in particular. (See AT&TJoins VC Effort to Spur ONAP-Based Tech.)

ONAP, or Open Network Automation Platform, is the open source project created earlier this year from a combination of AT&T's internally developed software for orchestrating and managing virtual networks and an existing open source project at the Linux Foundation known as Open-Orchestrator.

AT&T is now investing in the Coral Group's Communications Industry Platform (CIP) fund to "find and possibly create" startup companies to tackle the thorniest problems facing global service providers, according to a statement by Andre Fuetsch, CTO of AT&T and president of AT&T Labs. In that same statement, AT&T says the fund will invest in technologies that run on ONAP.

According to the Coral Group, the focus of CIP is on "large, move-the-needle opportunities initiated by our strategic collaborators," Yuval Almog, Coral Group chairman and founder, said in a statement.

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The two companies will be looking for other potential investors in CIP, according to the news release.

The move is another indication of the pace at which AT&T is trying to push technology forward, something its executives have continuously discussed in multiple public forums. In May, AT&T's chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology & Operations, John Donovan, told the Big Communications Event audience that moving much faster and adopting open source approaches are two key factors to surviving in an ever-changing market. (See AT&T's Donovan: Resistance to Change Is Futile .)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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