Tag Archives: startups

Global Entrepreneur Winner Sproxil expands partnership with IBM

Back in June 2010 – a little company named Sproxil sprung onto the scene of the global healthcare market by winning the IBM Smartcamp competition in Boston, MA.  Since they won our event competition, Sproxil has been featured for their cool solution on CNN, on the BBC, in the Wall Street Journal, and in other media outlets all over the globe.

Sproxil provides a mobile product authentication service that can be applied to various industry specific problems to ensure products are authentic before they are consumed.   You can see their CEO in this video talking about their solution — in this case providing a safe, reliable, scalable way for citizens to verifty that the perscription drugs they are consuming are legitimate, and have not been tampered with.  This enables the pharmaceutical industry to reduce drug counterfeiting and allows consumers to verify the authenticity of prescriptions in seconds with their mobile phones.

Today at IBM, we’re pleased to announce that Sproxil is collaborating with IBM and  is extending manufacturers’ ability to view and analyze real time consumer data to detect and prevent drug counterfeiting in developing countries, where 25 to 50 percent of medicines are believed to be counterfeit, costing the industry $75 billion a year. With the collaboration, Sproxil also uses IBM’s cloud service to provide clients with secure, reliable data access virtually anywhere.

Sproxil’s partnership with IBM builds on IBM’s rich portfolio offerings for Smarter Healthcare.   If you are at our IPMACT event today n , please be sure to find Dr Ashifi Gogo and congratulate him on his cool solution and partnership with IBM!


Startups compete to be the 2012 IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year!

This week in Silicon Valley, I have the pleasure of hosting the 2012 IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year Championship that brings together more than fifty venture capital firms and the nine best startups focused on Smarter Planet solutions from around the world. Over the past twelve months, we have run IBM SmartCamp competitions in the major markets and growth markets to identify local startups focused on our key growth initiatives – including Smarter Planet, Smarter Commerce, Business Analytics, and key industry plays such as healthcare and Smarter Cities.

In just eighteen months, the Global Entrepreneur Program has attracted over one thousand startups to work with IBM, and over 200 of them are in the process of embedding or leveraging IBM technologies with their solutions. The nine finalists competing this week for the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year” are all focused on business analytics with four focused on Smarter Cities, three on Smarter Commerce, and others on mobile, healthcare, and Smarter Water. Many of these startups are establishing new business models focused on the intersection of key technology and industry opportunities.

This year’s finalists include:

  • BitCarrier: BitCarrier’s traffic management solutions analyze real-time traffic information, providing current travel times, estimations on congestion rates, and accident alerts (winner, SmartCamp Barcelona).
  • C-B4 Context Based 4Casting: CB4 has created a context-based system for identifying and analyzing hidden data patterns in large-scale data warehouses. The system is particularly suited to the retail trade and customer relations management (winner, SmartCamp Tel Aviv).
  • ConnectM: ConnectM’s machine-to-machine technology uses advanced analytics to collect information from disparate systems to provide business intelligence. The solutions are developed specifically for the telecommunications, utilities, and transportation industries (winner, SmartCamp Bangalore).
  • IDXP: IDXP’s consumer behavior solution installs sensors in stores and shopping carts to help retailers understand consumer behavior (winner, SmartCamp Rio de Janeiro).
  • Localytics: Localytics’ real-time analytics service provides makers of mobile phone and tablet applications with a better understanding of people’s mobile application preferences and tendencies (winner, SmartCamp New York City).
  • Palmap: Palmap’s mapping solution provides mobile users with instant information for indoor activities such as navigating airports and shopping malls (winner, SmartCamp Shanghai).
  • Profitero: Profitero helps online retailers maximize profits via competitor analytics (winner, SmartCamp London).
  • SecureWaters: SecureWaters’ patented technology continuously monitors, detects, and identifies toxins in surface water. An early warning alarm system alerts clients to potential issues (winner, SmartCamp Austin).
  • SkinScan: SkinScan’s mobile application enables users to scan the moles on their bodies to measure skin cancer threat levels. They also offer a cloud infrastructure for medical histories of patients and doctors (winner, SmartCamp Istanbul).

You can follow the event this week at asmarterplanet.com. Tune in to hear from the finalist and see the winner be announced at livestream.com/ibmsoftware on Thursday, February 2. And finally, you can vote for your favorite startup through our People’s Vote Award.

It’s been a fun week so far- and today at 6:15pm PST – we’ll be announcing the Global Champion!

Tips for Global Entrepreneur SmartCamp Mentors

At our first Global Entrepreneur Smartcamp event of 2011 last week in Bangalore – I was asked to share my observations and advice on how the mentors for the startups can be most effective and helpful as they coach the companies throughout the event.   So I shared my five key tips for mentors –

1) Rely on your expertise and experience – each of you as mentors were selected based on your expertise and experience, so leverage that as the key areas that you coach the entrepreneurs on – and stick to those areas you know best.

2) Ask good questions – rather than telling them what to do or making statements.  Too often mentors want to tell an entrepreneur how to position their solution, or how to adjust their business model.  Instead by asking effective questions mentors can get the entrepreneur to think in new ways, to explore new options that might lead to a richer set of ideas than just the one idea or approach that might be thought of by the mentor.    This is the essence of good “coaching” and socratic teaching at it’s finest.

3) Help entrepreneurs see connections across the  elements of their business model.   As senior business leaders and mentors, you are all experienced in seeing connections across various business models – e.g. understanding how certain pricing models will impact route to market and sales models, which might impact a customer acquisition vs.  retention strategy and have impact on marketing and solution delivery.  But often times entrepreneurs are not as experienced at seeing the inter-relationships of these business model elements and don’t see the interdependencies – or they assume items are inter-dependent when they don’t have to be.   As mentors helping them see these connections is a critical area  we can add real value.

4) Help them learn to anticipate.   Given our collective experience in working with startups – we all know that the ability to anticipate changes in the marketplace and being able to evolve the initial idea is the key to success.  Ask good questions about how the solution might evolve based on client feedback, how the business might be able to pivot based on either existing or new entrant competitor moves, or based on changes in technology or value capture strategies.   Anticipating well is a key to survival.

5) Help them refine their value proposition and communications.  The single area we most often see significant same-day improvement in during a Smartcamp is helping the startup improve the clarity of their customer value proposition.  Often times the most impactful area we can help them is in clarifying the customer problem they are actually trying to solve, and crisping up their statement of value and 30-second elevator pitch to prospective clients.    By helping them refine the positioning of the solution and the messaging of their unique value and selling proposition, we can really strengthen the startup’s chance of getting those first key clients.

I hope you find these tips helpful as we all work to coach and mentor these exciting startup companies!

Bangalore Smartcamp A Big Success

Last week I had the pleasure of spending the week in Bangalore and hosted our first IBM Global Entrepreneur Smartcamp of 2011.   The event was a tremendous success with over 200+ startups applying to attend the event to benefit from the intense mentoring and business plan competition.   Prior to the actual day of the event – five companies were selected to attend and be mentored by our a great team of 26 experts from our venture capital, academic, ISV and other key ecosystem partners.  The five companies chosen to attend were:

  • Adiro Systems Private Ltd — builds sensor-based enterprise mobility solutions including automatic identification and data collection for manufacturing industry.
  • ConnectM – creates machine to machine technology for domain specific analytics and business intelligence for Telecom, Utilities, and Transportation industries
  • Indrion Technologies India Pvt Ltd – an intelligent automation provider based on embedded sensor and actuator network technology.
  • Infobotique Services (P) Limited – creates solutions for compliance and risk management for Oil and Natural Gas industry.
  • Quantama Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd – allows you to find places of interest, promotions and events nearby.

The five finalists presented their plans and after much discussion and dialogue with the mentors and judges, ConnectM was chosen as the winner for its Smarter Energy Concept.

ConnectM will now compete in the SmartCamp World Finals with winners of SmartCamps from other countries, for the honor of IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year 2011!

I’d like to especially thank our distinguished group of judges and mentors who spent the full day with our five finalists.  We appreciate your willingness to be a part of the event and help mentor these five companies as they strive to create solutions to build a Smarter Planet!

·	Darren Bibby, Vice President, IDC
·	Venkat Raju, Country Head & MD, ACI WorldWide
·	Ravindranath.P, Executive Director, TiE
·	Shalini Pillay, Partner, Performance & Technology, KPMG
·	Dr. Ponani Gopalakrishnan, VP, India Software Labs, IBM
·	Madhusudan Atre, President, Applied Materials India P Ltd
·	Samir Kumar, Managing Director, Inventus Advisory Services
·	Laura Parkin, CEO & Co-founder, NEN
·	Prof. Sekhar Babu, Chairperson, Amirta Institute of Management
·	Jeby Cherian, Director, Strategy, IBM India South Asia
·	Prof. Sadagopan, Director, IIIT Bangalore
·	Uma Reddy, CEO, HiTech Magnetics
·	Rahul Chowdhri , VP, Helion Advisors P Ltd
·	Ashish Sinha, Founder Pluggedin
·	Capt. V.Sivakumar, Associate Director - IT, Metlife India
·	Vish Narayan, IBM Distinguished Engineer & CTO, IBM Industry Solutions
·	Ajay Hattangdi, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank India Finance
·	Ramasubramaian, CMD, BioPure
·	Priya Chetty Rajagopal, VP & Client Partner, Stanton Chase International
·	RamPrasad Moudgalya, Telecom/Wireless Intrapreneur
·	Ankur Gulati, Analyst, DFJ
·	Mauricio Sucasas, Director, IBM ISV & DR, Growth Market Units
·	Mohan Kumar, Executive Director, Norwest Venture Partners
·	Girish Venkatachaliah, Director, Information Management and BA, IBM
·	V. Ravichandar, Chairman, Feedback Consulting
·	Vidhya Shrivatsava, Head- South, India Angel Network

Sudhir Sethi, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, IDG Ventures, along with Ajay Hattangdi, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank India Finance and I were on the panel of judges for the IBM SmartCamp Contest held in Bangalore on 27th of April 2011.

That's me on the left with Murali Ramalingam, MD, ConnectM, Praveen Chandrashekhar, VP IBM Indi, Sriram Chidambaram, Head – Sales, ConnectM and Mauricio Sucasas, Director, IBM ISV & DR, Growth Market Units

IBM Global Entrepreneur Schedule for 2011 – and Five Keys to Success

Just a bit ago we unveiled the schedule for the IBM Global Entrepreneur program events in 2011 – and you can find all the details here.  It’s going to be an exciting year ahead – with the program launching in more countries this year, and Smartcamps coming to nine cities!   Our competitions will span the globe – encompassing five continents – with the kickoff in India and the final event in Rio.  Be sure to check out the schedule and apply to the program!

As we work with hundreds of start up partners around the globe – it’s fascinating to look at what makes them successful as companies, and as entrepreneurs.    This week I read an interesting perspective titled “Should You Be An Entrepreneur” that looked closely at the types of entrepreneurs and what makes them successful.   It’s a fascinating quick read that you should check out.  The five keys to being successful – ability to change, ability to delegate, understanding the market they serve, managing cashflow, and imagination.

5 Hot New Companies – Stockholm SmartCamp Finalists

As you may know from my previous posts – as part of our Smarter Planet strategy we launched the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program to help fuel the growth of early stage startups who are inventing new business models and solutions related to Smarter Planet.

The Global Entrepreneur Program includes the IBM Smart Camp program, which provides a business plan competition to give these entrepreneurs visibility to IBM and Venture Capital executives, gives them mentoring by senior industry executives, and potentially access to capital from our VC partners to fuel their growth.

To run these smart camps we are partnering with an impressive list of organisations including Seedcamp, SDFORUM, Kauffman Fellows, TechStars, Enterprise Ireland, Stockholm Innovation Group (STING), Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council and Dublin City Council among others. This list is growing rapidly and you can find the complete list of our partners on our SmartCamp blog.

Our next event is this week in Stockholm – and we just announced the five finalists –

  • Predect making water safe
  • Yubico simplifying security for everyone
  • Info24 connecting machines to deliver smart planet solutions
  • VC Fire helping to reduce impact of fires
  • Qlucore next generation intuitive bioinformatics

Be sure to check out these cool new companies – they are great examples of new innovation that is helping to create a Smarter Planet!