The carrier started the Innovation Center to help create an ecosystem that would drive usage of its LTE network, which now carries about 60 percent of Verizon's mobile traffic, according to Verizon Executive Vice President and CTO Tony Melone. About 300 potential partners have engaged with Verizon through the Innovation Centers, more than a dozen resulting products are on the market, and there are more than 100 in the pipeline, he said. The recent expansion in San Francisco doubled the center's size to about 32,000 square feet.
Verizon doesn't charge for its assistance at the Innovation Center, and it doesn't try to acquire a startup's intellectual property or corner an exclusive right to sell the product or have it run only on the Verizon network, Puranik said. Though it wants to get promising new wireless products into its retail stores and other sales channels, startups are free to work with other carriers. The idea is to expand the mobile ecosystem, which should in turn help Verizon.
"We're trying to create a bigger pie," Puranik said.