IBM SmartCamp Finals Take NYC By Storm

IBM held the finals of its SmartCamp competition to name an entrepreneur of the year that is helping to change the world and make a Smarter Planet.

NEW YORK – IBM held its third annual SmartCamp Global Finals event to choose the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year here as a snowstorm threatened the area.

Despite the portent of bad weather, the climate inside the Waldorf-Astoria where the IBM SmartCamp took place was quite warm. Indeed there was a storm of a different sort, a storm of ideas and innovations going on.

Jim Corgel, IBM’s general manager of entrepreneurs and ecosystem, said innovation from the startup community is critical to building a Smarter Planet and IBM has been looking all over the world for the best and brightest startup companies through its SmartCamp program.

MoDe, a Kenyan startup focusing on delivering credit to customers in emerging countries via prepaid mobile, won the competition.

“MoDe goes to the heart of what it means to make the planet smarter,” Corgel said. By providing a solution and helping out people who had nowhere else to look, MoDe is making a difference, he said.

IBM SmartCamps are two-day-long events that judge the best startup companies in different cities around the globe. At the events, IBM brings together local venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, professors and IT industry experts to provide mentoring and advice to the startup participants.

“Working with IBM and the SmartCamp was a life changing experience for us,” said Gustavo Lemos, CEO of IDXP, a behavioral analytics firm and past IBM SmartCamp participant. “There is no successful startup without mentorship.”

At the conclusion of the local events, the winners receive mentoring, services, access to industry experts and deeper opportunities from IBM, VC firms and industry partners. Winners also receive an invitation to participate in IBM’s SmartCamp Global Finals, where the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year is named. There are eight finalists for the 2013 award.

This is the third year for the IBM SmartCamp program and participants are already making an impact in the industry, Corgel said. Past SmartCamp finalists have gone on to generate more than $90 million in venture capital and angel funding following their SmartCamp appearances. In addition, several have gone to market with IBM with new solutions.

The 2010 SmartCamp Finals winner was Streetline, a San Francisco based startup offering a smartphone solution allowing citizens to quickly find inexpensive parking while helping cities manage their parking resources more efficiently.

The 2011 SmartCamp Finals winner was Profitero, a UK-based company that analyzes competitor pricing data and offers retailers new levels of insight, helping them maximize profits by adjusting pricing and merchandising strategies.

In 2012 there were 22 SmartCamp events held around the world in cities including: Amsterdam, Bangalore, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Derry, Dublin, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Miami, Munich, New York, Paris, San Paolo, Sydney, Singapore and Tel Aviv. The eight 2012 finalists came out of these events.

HistoIndex is an analytics startup that was a co-winner of the Beijing regional finals and winner of the SmartCamp Kickstart Singapore. It is one of the eight 2012 finalists. The company provides researchers and hospitals with analytics tools and techniques to assist in the speedy and accurate diagnosis of fibrosis.

QuintessenceLabs is another of the eight 2012 finalists. The company is a co-winner of the Beijing regional finals. QuintessenceLabs develops cyber security products empowered by quantum science to protect electronic information even in the presence of network and system breaches.

SkyFoundry, another 2012 finalist, provides an analytics solution and is a co-winner of the North America regional finals. SkyFoundry’s SkySpark solution automatically analyzes the vast amounts of data generated by smarter devices to detect patterns, revealing issues, faults and opportunities for operational improvement.