By Deborah Magid
Over the last three days, six startup companies competing in the IBM SmartCamp Silicon Valley, worked with IBM executives, venture capitalists, and industry partners to perfect their pitches and learn more about the keys to success.
After intensive coaching, mentoring and networking with some of the region’s most influential players, Coriell Life Sciences and OnFarm wooed the judges in a capstone pitch competition to win the overall competition. Both companies now advance to IBM SmartCamp Global Finals in February in San Francisco where they will vie for the title of IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.
From corporate incubation programs to hack-a-thons and venture groups, the number of ways corporations can help start-ups scale continues to grow, and IBM SmartCamps is one of them. A cornerstone of the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, SmartCamps is in its fourth year.Part of what makes IBM’s approach to supporting entrepreneurship different is its scope. We work with companies from product creation all the way through to sales and expansion. Companies that participated in IBM SmartCamp Silicon Valley this year are joining the 1,000 startups already accessing IBM’s partner networks, technology and mentor connections via the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program.
Through the program, entrepreneurs are finding support to help accelerate their business and bring new technology to market, solving some of the world’s toughest challenges in healthcare, energy, transportation, commerce and more.
Our network of GEP startups recently reached a major milestone, raising more than $115 million since their involvement with IBM. Here are just a few of their successes:
- CareCloud, garnered more than $20 million in VC funding since being announced the co-winner of SmartCamp Silicon Valley 2010
- Streetline raised more than $15 million in VC funding since being named IBM’s 2010 Global Entrepreneur of the Year
- Localytics, winner of SmartCamp New York 2011 received a first and second round of funding totaling $20.5 million.
As for the winners of SmartCampSilivonValley, Coriell Life Sciences is helping to reshape how medicine and analytics interact. By applying DNA and gene sequencing data to real-world situations, for example, the company’s technology delivers reports that model how well a given drug could work based on an individual’s DNA.
OnFarm, for its part, provides analytics into agriculture data to help farmers make better decisions about their crops. The average U.S. farm has five or six siloed systems – all of which interact and are affected by each other. By extrapolating data from each of these systems, OnFarm can help growers save water, energy and fertilizer while producing higher-quality crops.
Mark Gorenberg, managing director at Hummer Winblad, was a judge for the event. After listening to the companies pitch and answer questions, he was impressed with the quality of the finalists. “All of these companies could be game changers when it comes to creating a smarter planet,” he said.
I couldn’t agree more and I look forward to seeing these two startups compete at the Global Finals.