MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Imagination, entrepreneurship and venture capital are combining in increasingly interesting ways these days. A prime example of this trend took place Sept. 19 at the Computer History Museum here in Silicon Valley.
At its North American SmartCamp event, IBM named Coriell Life Sciences and OnFarm Systems as the winners from six finalists at its North American SmartCamp event in Silicon Valley. Both startups will be included in the company's global finals event, to take place next January in San Francisco.
In that event, Coriell Life Sciences and OnFarm will compete against the winners from the European, Latin American and Asia-Pacific regional finals. This year, IBM will host a total of 17 SmartCamp competition events and 16 mentorship events in 24 countries.
Philadelphia-based Coriell Life Sciences has developed an enterprise application that enables doctors to make more informed decisions on selecting medication for their patients. Using a single analytics test created by Coriell, doctors are provided with a report of drug results telling them in each case which medications will work, which will be dangerous and what dosage is optimal, based on an individual's DNA.
OnFarm, based in Fresno, Calif., provides a cloud-based farm-management service that brings real-time analytics to farmers. The app aggregates, analyzes and presents factors such as soil moisture, weather conditions, satellite images and historical climate data into a package that helps enable farmers to make more informed planting, growing and harvesting decisions.
The average 500-acre U.S. farm has five to six siloed systems used in decision making. By combining that data into one dashboard, growers can save water, energy and fertilizer while producing higher quality crops.
Four other finalists in the regional competition were two-factor security provider Toopher, office-space and building analytics specialist Rifiniti, concussion management software maker Mindful Scientific and software-defined networking optimizer Connectem.
SmartCamps, which take place on four continents, are a key part of IBM's Global Entrepreneur Program. The SmartCamp process, now in its third year, is designed to identify and support startup companies developing innovative solutions using cloud, big data, analytics, mobile and social technologies. Winners were selected by a panel of expert judges consisting of venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, and business and technology experts. About 1,000 companies are affiliated with the program, Marketing Manager Ria Hyman told eWEEK.
The IBM Global Entrepreneur Program has become an incubator for IT startups. Past SmartCamp participants have now raised more than $115 million in venture capital funding to help expand their businesses. Several companies have gone on to bring new offerings to market with IBM.
Photo information: Left to Right: Paul Brunet, IBM; Lance Donny, OnFarm CEO; Scott Megill, Coriell Life Sciences CEO; Claudia Fan Munce, IBM. Credit: ShinyRedPhoto for IBM