IBM SmartCamp Global Finals – San Francisco: Not Your Typical Camp Experience
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.