AT&T venture funding initiatives will include as much as $200 million invested into a venture capital fund that aims to  propel emerging connected services and platform technologies, the company announced last week.

The carrier will work with Minneapolis-based high-tech venture capital specialist Coral Group’s Communications Industry Platform (CIP) unit to identify and invest in, as well as possibly create, connected services and platform startups, AT&T highlights in a press release.

“The CIP solutions are targeted at large, move-the-needle opportunities initiated by our strategic collaborators,” explained Yuval Almog, Coral Group founder and chairman. “We are pleased to welcome AT&T to the CIP.”

More specifically, the venture fund will invest in technologies that run on the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). A software-defined networking (SDN) operating system, ONAP was created by the merger of the Open ECOMP platform created by AT&T Labs with a similar, preexisting open source development project, according to the company.

ONAP is now an open source SDN platform hosted by the Linux Foundation. AT&T uses it to run its own cloud network.

As Coral describes its Industry Platforms: “We leverage our venture capital and integrated solutions experience to help mavericks within an industry reinvent themselves.

“To do so, we create investment vehicles that deliver sustainable, strategic advantage to our partners by combining Venture Capital and Integrated Solutions services to build a revolutionary new offering: solving problems for entire industries.”

In keeping with that approach, AT&T and Coral intend to persuade other companies to invest in the fund, including other Coral CIP partners.

Those partners aren’t listed on Coral Group’s website, but a list of the telecom and internet startups it has invested in and helped develop and grow is. Among them are broadband access solutions provider Calix, carrier Wi-Fi network provider Fon, and optical LAN specialist Tellabs.

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