Posts Tagged ‘smartcamp’
Greetings from the social media room on the solutions expo floor of IBM Pulse 2012.
It’s been a wild and crazy day, which you know already if you follow my blog.
We’ve already witnessed several keynote sessions, and Scott and I have been busy interviewing some of our key execs and thought leaders from IBM Software.
Those would include IBM Mobile guru Bob Sutor, who explained he’s historically been more iOS than Android (but he’s leaving the mobile OS door wide open) and who walked us through the “mobile lifecycle,” and IBM Developer Relations VP Mike Riegel, who regaled us with his insights into the IBM SmartCamp and Global Entrepreneur initiatives.
Keep an eye out on the Livestream for those interviews as they make their way into the Pulse 2012 video rotation.
Meanwhile, I wanted to include a link to the video Scott and I did for our kickoff last evening here on the Pulse 2012 Solutions Expo floor, where we set up the big picture for the week’s tidings — and even had some fun doing so.
If I’ve learned anything hearing the business pitches and talking to a number of the IBM SmartCamp Global Finalists here in San Francisco these past couple of days, it’s that their enthusiasm is infectious.
Great entrepreneurs generally seem to have some common characteristics: They have passion and commitment, they often have visions and the drive to change the world in some way, shape or form, and, they typically have the perseverance and wherewithal to move forward no matter how difficult the odds.
Such is how I would characterize the nine finalists in IBM’s 2011 SmartCamp Finals. Though there may not be a single common thread in the business ideas that have been brought to the table here — they are as diverse as our increasingly complex and globalized planet — the vision, drive, and eagerness to learn from one another and their Silicon Valley mentors has been a key theme of the IBM SmartCamp.
Sure, everyone would like to get fully funded and go make a gazillion dollars in the next great IPO. But these finalists seem to realize they need to walk before they can run, and the wisdom and counsel that has been shared in the closed mentoring sessions during the last two days seems to be as distinctly valued as the opportunity to “win” the SmartCamp Global Finals.
The fact is, and it’s been said throughout the past couple of days, ALL the finalists are winners. They wouldn’t have made it this far in the competition were they not, and no matter who gets the official “win,” it’s very clear that all the finalists have benefited tremendously from the networking and counsel shared amongst they and their peers.
As Facebook prepares to enter the public markets and offer the greatest IPO in the history of mankind, it’s probably a good time to step back and realize there are many ways that entrepreneurs can change the world.
Though much attention and focus has been generated by the consumer-facing social media applications that suck up much of the oxygen and ink, IBM SmartCamp in San Francisco this week has proven once again that the business-to-business opportunities presented by business analytics, and mobile/social/local technologies, are just as profound in the business realm, if not more so, than all the Facebooks of the world put together.
So, stay tuned to this blog and to the Twitter hashtag #ibmsmartcamp through the rest of this afternoon as we prepare to announce the “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year,” while recognizing all the finalists here at IBM SmartCamp were winners before they ever arrived, and have already changed the world in their own unique and diverse ways.
If you’ve ever been to India, you could drive yourself crazy trying to count the number of cellphones (although you could count the traffic lights in Bangalore nearly on one hand!).
India’s telco deregulation in the late 1980s helped the Indian telecommunications industry leapfrog traditional wireline phone infrastructure, and instead you now have 350,000+ cell phone towers spread across the span of the sub-continent.
IBM SmartCamp Finalist ConnectM has a vision for better utilizing all those towers: To become a leading energy management solutions provider, leveraging business intelligence and analytics across the telecom tower and building infrastructure.
The company’s offering provides a remote monitoring and energy management solution for energy spend optimization, operations and management, asset management, and revenue assurance.
Sounds mundane? Well, the market for solutions that manage and optimize energy alone is an estimated $16B worldwide, and ConnectM is utilizing its current leadership position in India, with an installed based of over 5,000 cell sites, to build a scalable and profitable business.
Before it even reached the IBM Smart Camp finals, ConnectM delivered annualized energy savings of over $4 million US to its current customers, including both India and India-based multinationals, demonstrating well before it came to requesting venture capital money, that it was already making money.
I never was much one for camp, save for the Boy Scouts day camp I used to attend every Texas hot summer.
There was one particularly memorable time at camp. One of the parents was driving us home for the day, and the next thing I knew, I was rolling along the pavement.
Me, not the car. The car kept going, until the parent realized I had inadvertently opened the door and rolled out onto the shoulder of the road.
Fortunately, nobody was behind us, and I got back into the car, a little worse for the wear, and even played in my Little League baseball game that evening despite the new strawberry on my leg.
But that was a different kind of camp, in a very different time and place.
And over the past year, IBM has been holding camps all over the world. “Smart Camps,” where IBM venture capitalists look for the brightest startup companies around the world.
Because for IBM, innovation from the startup community is essential to our mission of building a smarter planet.
No company, including IBM, can all of that on their own.
So over the past year, IBM’s been searching the world for the best and the brightest startup companies.
And as I write this, I’m on my way to San Francisco, California, “startup central,” if you will, to learn more about the finalists in IBM’s Smart Camp competition, and to learn more about the innovative new solutions they’re working on to help address some of the toughest challenges cities face every day, including those like traffic, healthcare, retail, and communications, among others.
So what is IBM’s role in all this, aside from the competition itself? IBM is helping convert startups to “speedups,” by helping provide coaching and connections to IBM clients and partners.
IBM is working to help get these startups to market faster, while also providing IBM clients with the hottest new technologies.
Some Background On IBM SmartCamps
A quick flashback to see how this has fared in the past: The finalists for the 2010 SmartCamp finals went on to generate more than $50 million in VC/angel funding in the year following their SmartCamp appearance!
This week, nine technology start-ups from the business analytics realm, and from around the globe, are competing to be named “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”
These nine finalists were selected among nearly one thousand applicants, and by winning their local SmartCamp competition, earned a spot in the finals to go head-to-head with the best in the world. There were nine SmartCamps held in 2011, including in Austin, Texas; New York, NY; Bangalore, India; Tel Aviv, Israel; Shanghai, China; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; London, England; Istanbul, Turkey; and Barcelona, Spain.
Some of my favorite cities around the world!
The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals will bring together hundreds of leading VCs, industry experts, press, analysts, and academics to network and celebrate entrepreneurship.
For now, I’m going to decamp the plane and head into San Francisco, where the week’s tidings are already underway. Keep an eye on this blog for further coverage.
If the suspense was killing you, the winner of the IBM SmartCamp New York competition has been announced.
And the winner is…Localytics!
Great name. And also a great idea.
Localytics providers real-time data analysis that helps the makers of mobile phones and tablet apps better understand their clients.
How cool is that?!
Congrats to Localytics, and all the other participants and semi-finalists (along with winners of prior city instances of SmartCamp).
Localytics was selected from more than 200 entries from around the world, and the NY finalists’ all had technology and business models that capitalized on the growing opportunity to apply analytics to data.
On the topic of analytics, IBM recently introduced a new program entitled “What’s Your AQ?”
The sitelet allows you to take IBM’s “Analytics Quotient” test to measure how ready you and your team are to apply insight to your strategy, processes and tactics.
The more your embrace analytics, the higher your AQ!
Back in mid-May, I mentioned in this blog that the IBM SmartCamp would be taking place in New York City in late June.
Well, that time has arrived, and the startups that made it as finalists all seemed to have a generally common thread: They all use software to analyze large volumes of today.
The five finalists for SmartCamp New York developed software that helps people and businesses better manage energy consumption, monitor environmental hazards, understand mobile device usage patterns, and track brand sentiment.
SmartCamp New York is part of the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative, which was set up to bring new technologies to market faster that have the potential to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The five finalists were selected from more than 200 startup companies that are creating new technologies in critical areas such as healthcare, energy and environment, and other services that improve the life of citizens around the globe.
IBM SmartCamps judge the best start-up company in different cities around the globe, then reward the winners with mentoring, services, access to industry experts, and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms, and industry partners.
And you can participate.
Each of the final five startups created a one-minute video pitch that you can view on the Smarter Planet blog at ASmarterplanet.com. Watch the pitch videos and the companies live on the IBM Software Livestream, then vote for your favorite.
You can watch the webcast here starting tomorrow, and you can also follow the action via Twitter at #IBMSmartCamp.
Meanwhile, check here to learn more about the five finalists for IBM SmartCamp New York.