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BlackBerry & L-SPARK Unveil Second Accelerator Cohort Firms

Zacks Equity Research

Blackberry Limited BB recently unveiled the participants for the second cohort of its joint-accelerator program with L-SPARK — the largest accelerator for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies in Canada. Together, the companies are collaborating to help start-up firms that are focused on vehicle-connected services and cloud connectivity to scale up to the next level.

The cohort program is primarily designed to facilitate small- and mediums-sized enterprises to bring to the market products based on the BlackBerry QNX technology. BlackBerry QNX offers a broad portfolio of software solutions for the automotive industry. These include infotainment, connectivity, in-car network security, type-1 hypervisor supporting multiple ECU (engine control unit) integration into domain controllers, ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and acoustics. Its Over-The-Air software update platform ensures security of the automotive software for flexible, scalable solutions for vehicle systems, and next generation of connected and autonomous vehicle architectures.

The four-month intensive one-on-one training will focus on tactical and strategic support, along with relevant workshops for developing innovative solutions for autonomous and connected car applications. After the success of the first accelerator program that focused on startups from diverse industries, spanning cybersecurity to 3D imaging, the second such initiative is likely to spur the overall development of the next-generation vehicle connectivity products and services.

The six participants of the cohort program are Preteckt, which uses predictive diagnostics and telematics data to predict maintenance issues; TRAINFO, which facilitates safe operations for automated vehicles at rail crossings; Northstar Robotics that powers networks of autonomous vehicles; Sensor Cortek that enhances autonomous vehicle perception systems; Deeplite that focuses on cloud and edge computing applications; and Passenger that helps detect and resolve incidents in driverless cars and shuttles.

These startups made the final cut with business models and technologies that aligned best with the BlackBerry QNX mission. Together, these companies are expected to create safe, secure and reliable solutions for autonomous vehicles, pooling resources, and in-depth technological know-how from both BlackBerry and L-SPARK.  

BlackBerry’s foray into the automotive industry was marked by the seamless integration of navigation, infotainment and critical driving functions. The company leverages its extensive technology portfolio to extend the best-in-class security and reliability features. These include a unified endpoint-management solution that provides comprehensive multi-platform device, application and content management, with integrated security and connectivity, embedded systems, enterprise applications and related services.

Operating as a leading player in the enterprise mobility management, BlackBerry is widely recognized for its productivity and security innovations. The company delivers one of the most secure end-to-end mobile enterprise solutions in the market through a broad portfolio of products and services. It offers an end-to-end software and services platform for the Enterprise of Things, which includes computers, vehicles, sensors, equipment and other connected endpoints within the enterprise that communicate with each other to enable smart business processes.

The stock has lost 32.5% in the past year compared with the decline of 14.9% registered by the industry.



BlackBerry currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the industry include KT Corporation KT, SK Telecom Co., Ltd. SKM and Mobile TeleSystems PJSC MBT, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

KT Corporation has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 11.5%.

SK Telecom is currently trading at a forward P/E of 14x.

Mobile TeleSystems has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 4.9%.

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