Then we moved onto Boston

March 18, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boston Globe: IBM Corp. has launched a business-plan competition in which the company will look to partner with five Boston-area technology companies with less than $1 million in revenue.

The program, called Smartcamp, debuted in Ireland last year. The Boston launch is concurrent with seven other cities around the world where IBM is launching Smartcamp programs this year. IBM does not invest cash or take an equity position in Smartcamp companies, but provides mentors from both inside and outside the company. Applications opened Wednesday online, with the five companies to be announced June 3. In November, IBM will pick a company as an overall winner.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based computing giant is looking to partner with the next generation of startups developing technology networking a “smart planet,” said Steve Mills, the senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s software group. “When we talk about smart planet, we talk about things that are instrumental, interconnected and intelligent,” he said.

For example, he cited systems that allow monitoring, interactivity and automation in energy, health care, and food production and delivery.

“A true inflection point has arrived,” Mills said. “For those that understand that domain there is a significant opportunity.”

Locally, IBM is working with the Mass Technology Leadership Council trade organization as well as the Cambridge tech incubator Techstars Boston. “It’s outside the scope of things Techstars tends to get involved in terms of industry area,” said Techstars Boston director Shawn Broderick, “but I was excited to see an organization as large as IBM involved in something like this. I was compelled to help.”

For its kick-off event Wednesday, IBM introduced executives from two startups involved in the Ireland program as well as officials from Ireland’s Enterprise Ireland program, which invests in startups domestically.

The Smartcamp program allowed Resource Kraft, an Irish company making energy monitoring software, to gain better terms for the IBM software it uses, said CEO Frank Casey.

“Having the engagement with IBM changed the way groups approached us,” Casey said. “You’re now opening an executive discussion on pricing, rather than talking to a sales guy.”


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