by Martin Kelly, Partner, IBM Venture Capital Group
We’re pleased to announce the line-up for IBM SmartCamp 2012. This is our program for helping entrepreneurs who are developing products and services that make the world work better. Entrepreneurs who participate gain access to mentors who understand their industry and can help them develop their businesses. Also, networking and publicity can lead to venture funding.
We plan more than 17 SmartCamp events worldwide this year. The schedule starts in Miami on May 15th, with a new format focused on healthcare. Over the last two years we have seen growing interest in certain topics and believe the timing is right to have dedicated events. These one- and two-day events will bring together entrepreneurs, mentors and investors in particular industries allowing a more focused discussion. We will follow Miami up with New York on May 24th with a focus on Smart Cities. The New York event was planned to coincide with TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, to allow mentors and companies to make the most of the community.
For more information and to apply, you can get started here.
The IBM SmartCamp initiative has been a big success since its launch in 2010. Companies have received significant press in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg, and raised over $50M in venture capital. Some startups have have begun to work closely with IBM and expand their businesses. In addition, the program is now live in 15 countries. We are very grateful to the network of over 400 experienced mentors who give their time to work with these companies.
This year, we are introducing a new category of start-up that will continue to the global finals event. To ensure we continue to recognize the best early stage companies around the world we will now have a ‘best newcomer’ category at each event. We think combining this new category with our more traditional selection criteria will allow us to identify a strong, diverse group of companies for the 2012 IBM SmartCamp Global Finals.
We are keen to hear your opinions and have included a short survey to get your views on what we need to change and improve. The survey will take no more than 3 minutes to complete and we’ll be happy to share the results with you. Please click here.
Otherwise, we hope we’ll see you soon at one of the events in the near future.
Schedule – KickStart Events
· Miami (15th May – healthcare focus)
· New York (24th May – smart cities focus)
· Munich (20th June)
· Bangalore (18th July)
· Tel Aviv (12th Sept)
· Moscow (mid Sept)
· Paris (28th Sept)
· Istanbul (3rd Oct)
· London (5th Oct)
· Cape Town (10th Oct)
· Mexico City (11th Oct)
· Moscow (mid Oct)
· Dublin (25th Oct)
Schedule – Regional Finals
These events will feed into the regional finals in the following locations
· Asia – Beijing (23rd/24th Sept)
· Europe\Middle East \Africa – Berlin (13th/14thNov)
· North America – Boston (20th/21st June)
· South America – Sao Paolo (28th/29th Nov)
It is hard to believe that in just over two years SmartCamp has expanded from a pilot in Dublin to a global program. We are totally dependent on the support of our partners and while IBM is a huge company, we realize that for the planet to become smarter we need a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors – all focused on the same prize of making the world work better.