IBM Launches Global Entrepreneur Initiative to Help Start-Ups

IBMIn today's challenging economic environment, technology start-ups can struggle to bring new ideas to market. In response, IBM (NYSE: IBM) opened its resources to these companies in a new initiative to help this next generation of entrepreneurs capture emerging business opportunities in fast-growing industries such as energy and utilities, health care, telecommunications and government.

The IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative provides start-ups with no-charge access to industry-specific technologies in a cloud computing environment. Under the new program, IBM will provide access to its Research community as well as sales, marketing and technical skills. IBM invests more than $6 billion per year in Research with more than 3,000 people in eight labs around the world. With more than 4,914 new patents in 2009 alone, IBM has experience bringing innovative technologies to market.

IBM is uniquely positioned to help start-ups because of the depth of resources, expertise, and experience with the most forward-thinking institutions, governments, and businesses around the world. With its Smarter Planet strategy and years of investments in research, IBM is skilled in building product and services offerings for businesses based on new ideas. IBM Industry Frameworks, for example, are software platforms targeted to industry specific market opportunities such as Smarter Water, Smarter Buildings and Smarter Health Care.

"A large number of venture capital investments in the technology industry will be targeted at entrepreneurs in the US, China, Israel, UK, Germany, France and India this year," said Promod Haque, managing partner, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). "To make these investments count, start-ups must have the right skills in place to bring new technologies to market more quickly. Venture capitalists, businesses, government and academia must all collaborate to ensure today's entrepreneurs are prepared to succeed."

Under the new initiative, start-ups can for the first time:

  • access IBM's software portfolio through a cloud computing environment, including IBM industry frameworks to accelerate software development;
  • work side-by-side scientists and technology experts from IBM Research to develop new technologies;
  • take advantage of dedicated IBM project managers to assist in product development;
  • attend new IBM SmartCamp mentoring and networking workshops with VC firms, government leaders, academics, and industry experts at the global network of 40 IBM Innovation Centers to build business and go-to-market plans;
  • tap a new social networking community on IBM developerWorks to connect with other entrepreneurs and more than eight million IT professionals from around the world.

IBM announced the initiative to 300 venture capital, business, government and academic leaders at an IBM venture capital forum in Bangalore, India. IBM's Claudia Fan Munce, vice president of corporate strategy and managing director of the IBM Venture Capital Group, explained why the company is opening its resources more widely to start-ups: "Businesses around the world are increasingly applying new technologies to address industry-specific needs, and technology start-ups are looking for new ways to capitalize on this trend," she said. "IBM's goal is to help entrepreneurs gain the skills they need to bring new ideas to market faster using IBM technology to accelerate industry transformation and fuel innovation."

As part of this program, IBM is collaborating with 19 global industry and technology associations to identify and connect local start-ups to the initiative through IBM SmartCamps and forums at IBM Innovation Centers throughout 2010. The associations include:

  • SD Forum, TiE Silicon Valley, Mass Tech Leadership Council, TiE Austin, and MassInno in the United States.
  • National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs, SE Business Innovation & Growth and Enterprise UK in the United Kingdom, as well as Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Software Association in Ireland and SeedCamp.
  • Israeli Venture Association, SvoiBiz, Office of the Chief Scientist, and StartUpmania, in Israel.
  • TiE, and Indian Angel Network in India.
  • Journees de L'entrepreneur and ADEN (Association for Development of Digital Economy) in France.

The criteria for start-ups to participate in the IBM Global Entrepreneur Initiative are; 1) the company must be privately-held; 2) in business less than three years; and 3) actively developing software aligned to IBM's Smarter Planet focus areas.

For more information about the IBM Global Entrepreneur Initiative, please visit http://www.ibm.com/isv/startup.

For more information on the IBM Venture Capital Group, please visit http://www.ibm.com/venturecapitalgroup.

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