Regional finals for North America – SmartCamp style!


The Regency Center in San Francisco

Kicking off the regional SmartCamps finals for 2014 is the IBM Regional SmartCamp Silicon Valley! The event will be held on Nov. 13th at The Regency Center in San Francisco. The event starts at 5 pm Pacific.

At the event, you can network and connect with successful serial entrepreneurs, academic institutions, industry thought leaders, entrepreneurial organizations, angel investors, venture capitalists and others who share a passion for entrepreneurship! All you have to do is register to attend!

Do you have a favorite startup in the Regional Finals? If so, you can vote for your favorite startup now!

And we have 6 incredible finalists from all over the United States competing! Let’s take a closer look at our finalists!

BeehiveID Logo_Tagline_CMYKBeehiveID eliminates fraudsters and bad actors before they can cause trouble! BeehiveID uses advanced identity technologies to comb through data to establish the Beehive Identity Score. Their solution performs deep analysis of social data and biometric face matching on the back-end to ensure that social profiles represent real people. Online merchants use BeehiveID to prevent fraud, spam and abuse and ensure their user accounts are backed by genuine, unique individuals.

Digital Certainty
DigitalCertainty.logoCreate thousands of landing pages in minutes and Digital Certainty will find the highest converting option! Digital Certainty’s automated conversion optimization system makes traditional A/B testing obsolete. Its SaaS product allows marketing professionals without analytical backgrounds to increase conversions further and faster than is possible with manual testing. Digital Certainty’s machine-learning conversion optimization algorithms are increasing mobile and desktop sales issues that, until now, have only been tackled by data scientists using manual processes.

Drago Data
Drago Data is a wireless mobile data gathering application that is ideal for researchers, healthcare workers and emergency management personnel in underdeveloped areas. Drago Data is a data collection and management solution that can operate in areas where cellphones, wireless access and cloud infrastructure are not available.

eye_logoeyeQ provides brick-and-mortar retailers with innovative methods for understanding and engaging their customers! eyeQ provides the most advanced in-store marketing technology in the world to personalize, perfect, and deliver the messages that will move those choices in favor of our brand customers. The eyeQinsights system learns in-store shopper behavior and targets messaging to each shopper at his or her point of decision.

LIKECHARITY-Connect-CMYK-05LIKECHARITY enables you to donate to your favorite charities by simply sending a text message from your mobile phone. LIKECHARITY is transforming the donor acquisition process for the charitable fundraising industry. The LIKECHARITY platform integrates TV, mobile, and social into a single technology platform. It helps donors engage with charity clients through the media donors are already using and consuming. And it enables charities to be more efficient, effective, and transparent, while our analytics enable predictable growth and scale.

rosie_logoRosie lets you shop online for groceries at your favorite local stores. If you choose in-store pickup, all your items will be bagged and waiting for you at the front of the store.  For retailers, Rosie provides e-commerce, delivery opportunities, and deep data services. Rosie harnesses big data to power its patented machine learning algorithms, which provide targeted shopper marketing insights for retailers and a fast, smart, convenient shopping experience for customers.

Don’t forget to register to attend! See you in San Francisco!

Two new SmartCamp winners: Brushing teeth and fighting fires

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen two new SmartCamp winners emerge. One has a cloud and mobile-based solution for fighting forest fires. And the other? The other winning solution offers inspired tooth brushing, a dream come true for any parent.

Grushlogo_AlphaGrush, winner of SmartCamp Silicon Valley, transforms the chore of tooth brushing into a fun and interactive game. They’ve developed an advanced Bluetooth motion-sensing toothbrush, called the Grush Brush, coupled with interactive and instructive mobile games, to guide kids’ brushing and let parents track the results. The motion data is sent to Grush Apps in real-time. Grush Apps are interactive games that receive motion data from the Grush Brush and integrate it with a simulated image of the child’s teeth.

In addition, the Grush Cloud stores detailed brushing data of each user for tracking/monitoring. Detailed brushing statistical data can be provided to dentists to customize a treatment plan which could ultimately save in dental costs.

insight roboticsInsight Robotics, winner of SmartCamp China, uses thermal imaging sensors and advanced artificial intelligence vision technology to quickly locate a forest fire, giving first responders a jump at extinguishing the flames. So precise is their solution that is can spot fires as small as an area of 2m x 1m within 5km radius! Their solution can be used in a variety of ways for undeveloped terrain, including the monitoring of illegal logging and large city parks.

Preventing forest fires and more inspired tooth brushing. Now those are smarter planet solutions! Congratulations to Insight Robotics and Grush!

Romesh Wadhwani Inspires Entrepreneurs at TieCon 2014

Guest post by Jeff Saperstein, co-founder of CVC Group and co-author of Service Thinking: The Seven Principles to Discover Innovative Opportunities

Romesh Wadhwani delivered an informed and rousing presentation, receiving a long-sustained standing ovation by those fortunate to hear his life story and candid reflections. He began with an audacious claim: “As I think about entrepreneurship, I have concluded that there is no higher creative calling than being an entrepreneur. More than being a painter, more than being a sculptor, more than being a dancer, more than being a singer… The reason is because entrepreneurs get to create on a very large canvas.”

Founder of Symphony Technology Group, Wadhwani has been a determined serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, who builds companies with “real profits”. As a no nonsense business leader, Wadhwani’s professional life story would be reason enough to cheer; however, more remarkable is that he has pledged half his wealth to philanthropy, devoting his prodigious energies and considerable financial resources to giving back to his people in India through the Wadhwani Foundation: The foundation’s primary mission is to leverage India’s growing human potential to bring about large-scale, high-impact social change.

He was scathing in his critique of lack of social concern in India, citing that while $300 billion is annually donated to charity in the US only $5 billion is donated in India, a country with four times the US population. His focus on social change is to reverse that dynamic and apply Silicon Valley know how to find new solutions for job creation and economic development. The Foundation has introduced entrepreneurship programs in colleges. The National Entrepreneurship Network has created 2000 new companies.

Principles for Entrepreneurship

The core of his message was dedicated to Entrepreneurs and he shared five lessons from his success:

1. Entrepreneurship is about creativity, passion, and perseverance

2. Learn from mistakes and persevere; experience matters

3. Renewal is a critical aspect of entrepreneurship

4. The job of the leader is to Motivate the team

5. Innovation is essential to sustaining a vibrant business

Symphony Technology Group has combined these capabilities to create a different business model: Cross-fertilize 14 companies that have $3 billion revenues with $300 million in operating profit. He takes a sustainable portfolio approach to build great companies.

What is a great company?

1-Continuously increase value to customers

2-Acquire and retain best talent

3-Grow organically through innovation

4-Build high performance culture

Wadhwani suggests it is a journey; one never fully achieves greatness, but shoot to be better than just good.

Values do matter: how you deal with customers, talent, culture, and real tangible outcomes associated with them. Symphony Technology has a 4X outcome of comparable companies.

Romesh Wadhwani has lived an inspiring life and celebrates success by paying forward to help new generations of entrepreneurs. We would all be better served if his wisdom, experience, and drive were more widely known and appreciated.

Coriell Life Sciences transforms Healthcare Management with Smarter Process

Coriell Life Sciences is personalizing healthcare with help from IBM. Together, they are integrating genomic data into healthcare management to understand how a patient’s genetics might impact adverse reactions to medication.

Using IBM Smarter Process on Cloud, Coriell can manage the entire process from genetic testing up until the point that the information arrives directly into doctors’ hands. In addition, IBM Watson technology allows for real-time analytics to produce a confidence score around the likelihood of an adverse reaction.

Coriell Life Sciences is an IBM Business Partner with the Global Entrepreneur Program and is the winner of the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals 2013.

We have a new winner! Coriell Life Sciences

It’s been said before, and it certainly applies here: the competition was tough! It’s hard to imagine how difficult a decision this was for our judges. But, decide they did. The results are in!

Sandy Carter applauds Scott Megill of Coriell Life Sciences

Sandy Carter applauds Scott Megill of Coriell Life Sciences

The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals 2013 winner is Coriell Life Sciences! Congratulations to them!

It was probably the story Scott Megill, Coriell’s CEO, told while he was on stage. He spoke about Doris, an 85 year old woman who was taking 14 different medications. She’s faced with having to take a new medication now, Scott goes to say, but her doctor may not fully understand what kind of adverse side effects Doris could experience taking all these medications together.

That’s where Coriell Life Sciences enters the scene. With a simple swipe of the inside of her cheek, Coriell Life Sciences can determine whether or not the drugs shes taken are best for her. How do they do this? By looking at her DNA. With their DNA testing, Coriell Life Sciences is able to determine that Doris’ new medication might cause her serious health issues, like blood clotting. With this information, her doctor now has the complete information needed to make a better decision for her health.

And here’s a staggering figure: $135 Billion is wasted due to adverse drug reaction in the US. Not mention the most important thing, quality of life!

Coriell Life Sciences, like many of the other finalists, are in the business of saving lives. They are poised to be very successful, and people’s lives will be improved as a result.

Coriell Life Sciences wasn’t the only one to walk away with a trophy in hand. Shopa proved to be the most popular startup and they received the People’s Choice Award. Looking at the vote total, it was clear that Shopa has a very loyal fan base! Good on them!

All of the 2013 IBM SmartCamp Global finalists

All of the 2013 IBM SmartCamp Global finalists

Now, we celebrate with all the finalists. Tomorrow, we began focusing on the next round of startup competitions, as we prepare to crown the winner for 2014. Will that be you? It could be, if you’re a startup and compete in the IBM SmartCamp competition!

Venture capital guru, Julie Meyer, to be at IBM SmartCamp Global Finals!

Entrepreneur Week is here, and we’ve got a full week of activities for everyone to enjoy. And let’s be clear, it’s not just for or about IBM. We’ve got an impressive line-up of speakers and mentors engaged through out the week. We’ve already blogged about Eric Ries, our keynote speaker for the SmartCamp Global Finals. But we have others, too… namely, Julie Meyer!

Photo of Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer

Julie is the founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital, co-founder and Managing Partner of the Ariadne Fund, founder of Entrepreneur Country, and co-founder of First Tuesday.

She founded Ariadne Capital back in 2000; Ariadne backs entrepreneurs in the digital health, mobile money, broadcast media and entertainment, and smart cities ecosystems. Ariadne pioneered the model of “Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs” as the new model of the financing of entrepreneurship, and Ariadne’s investment framework is “Ecosystem Economics.”

She sits on the Boards of INSEAD, Medikidz, Vestergaard Frandsen and Jellybook. In 2011, she was asked to be on the Secretary of State’s Entrepreneurs Panel and the Secretary of Health’s Innovation Panel. In 2012, Julie was honored to receive an honorary MBE for her services to entrepreneurship. Julie’s first book, Welcome to Entrepreneur Country, was published in June 2012.

Thankfully, Julie will be a mentor and a member of the Venture Capital Panel for our IBM SmartCamp Global Finals on Feb. 6th. Spots are filling up fast for our afternoon portion of the finals. Register now so you can hear Julie and see who wins the SmartCamp finals!

Come one, come all! IBM SmartCamp Global Finals!

If you haven’t registered for the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals, it’s not too late! Though the morning session is completely filled, there’s still room to register for the afternoon session at the Bentley Reserve Banking Hall!

Register now for the afternoon session so you can watch our 8 finalists compete for first place and hear from our keynote, Eric Ries!

Here’s an infographic with the day’s agenda:

Infographic of IBM SmartCamp Global finals

Women in business: The success of the female entrepreneur


Sandy Carter

As we prepare for IBM Entrepreneur Week and the SmartCamp Global Finals in February 2014, it’s worth noting that there’s been a consistent theme through out 2013: Female Entrepreneurs. Indeed, the very IBM organization conducting and overseeing Entrepreneur Week is led, for the first time, by a woman: Sandy Carter, General Manager, IBM Ecosystem Development.

Appropriately, there will be a day dedicated to exploring the contributions women have made in the entrepreneurial community. Day 1 of Entrepreneur Week will focus on women-led startups, as well as social business and academics.

In a recent blog post by Elizabeth Penson, she noted that she has “personally seen efforts, both within IBM and the larger community to attract and promote women entrepreneurs.” While these efforts on behalf of IBM are well documented, there’s still many obstacles for women in business. Namely, says Penson, self defeating tactics: “Self sabotage comes in many forms such as fear, being overwhelmed by statistics and getting hung up about problems that haven’t yet manifested and may never do so.”


Vicky Brock

While this year’s finalists are startups all run by men, that doesn’t tell the full story of SmartCamp. Some notable women leading startup companies are Vicky Brock, CEO of Clear Returns, and Laura Schewel, CEO of StreetLight Data. Vicky’s company is a previous finalist of SmartCamp Dublin, and Laura’s company was a finalist for the 2012 SmartCamp Global Finals.

Even though there is a long way to go, women entrepreneurs are making strides and IBM is one of the companies leading the way, ready and very willing to partner with women and their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Read this eWeek article for more about Laura and Vicky, as well as other inspiring stories of how women are making an impact as entrepreneurs. And watch this blog for continuing stories of women entrepreneurs and other events for Entrepreneur Week!

Entrepreneurial tips from Silicon Valley

Jim Claussen, IBM Manager of Worldwide Industry Ecosystem Market Management, recently blogged about his experiences at the SmartCamp Silicon Valley event. He shared some of the insights and takeaways offered for entrepreneurs with the aim of helping entrepreneurs succeed with their ideas.

With folks like John China, of Silicon Valley Bank; Bill Reichert, of Garage Technology Ventures; and Mark Gorenberg, of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners serving on the venture capital panel, there were plenty of good ideas swirling around the room.

Photo of Silicon Valley SmartCamp panel

From left to right: John China, of Silicon Valley Bank; Bill Reichert, of Garage Technology Ventures; and Mark Gorenberg, of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

Here’s some of what Jim noted coming from the panel:

  • The finance environment is rekindled and actively supporting startup innovation – now is a great time to launch new ideas, new approaches, new business models – be encouraged. Corporations are turning to outside innovators for growth (through acquisition).
  • Think global. Today, great ideas are coming from all around the world. Don’t limit your partnering and finance options to your immediate locality – think about who is investing in your niche and seek them out, wherever they are.
  • Some of the most compelling use cases and open market opportunities are in the emerging markets.
  • Today, technology is democratizing the playing field as tools that were once only available to large companies, are now available to the smallest startups: CRM, marketing automation, market research, social selling, strong web presence, online community engagement, mobile app development, analytics, social tools. These enable startups to scale with speed.
  • There is a lot of competition for funding – build strong differentiation to limit competitive entry.
  • In doing competitive research, look around the globe because there may be a competitor coming up in another country… Don’t be caught off guard, especially from emerging countries.
  • This is key – you must show a path to get to scale, this is the challenge, you have to be able to show how you are going to quickly get to scale.
  • The successful startups are the ones with competitive barriers because all good ideas are going to draw competition… You need to be able to define and own the space before others can ramp up.

To find out more about Jim’s insights and takeaways, read his entire blog here.

Join us at an upcoming IBM SmartCamp for an opportunity to network with heavy hitters from the venture and entrepreneurial communities.  Take a look at the schedule and register to secure your place!

IBM SmartCamp Silicon Valley perspective from Hult Professor Jeff Saperstein: “Cloud and analytics will transform everything”

I recently had the opportunity to attend a great event hosted by IBM to showcase the six US SmartCamp finalists, each of whom presented masterfully to a panel of veteran VC judges.

I attended, not to launch a business, but to learn how we can better prepare MBA students and Executive Education business professionals to discover their own opportunities and to find what Bill Reichert, VC Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, calls the WOW! factor. 

Highlights of the day included IBMers Paul Brunet and Claudia Van Munce setting the mood of informal, yet informational and exciting, presentations by the VC judges, the entrepreneurs and invited IBM guest executives. 

Claudia conducted a wonderful roundtable discussion with the judges who each gave their perspectives on the overall innovation economy and how they see the immediate future. The bottom line is that the Cloud and analytics will transform everything. IBM is seeking partners to bring in innovation using their platforms and distribution networks and SmartCamp is just one of many strategies IBM employs to give entrepreneurs every advantage to use the eco-system of the Cloud for every sector.  Another important development is that corporations are open to snap up technologies embracing open innovation. So the message the panel left us with is that it is tougher than ever to get funding and successfully scale a business because competition has increased, but with new technologies, there is greater opportunity for entrepreneurs to do big things.

The entrepreneurs each had six minutes to present their business opportunity with four minutes to answer judges’ questions. Clearly, these entrepreneurs had been expertly coached in making their case concise, compelling and credible.  

I wish all business students and entrepreneurs had the opportunity to see these stellar presentations and the questions posed by the VC panel. It could inspire more people to go for making their own opportunities, rather than just waiting for someone to give him/her a job and to be told what to do. I hope IBM can find a way to MOOC and open source for certification completion to a larger audience more of what they do at SmartCamp for the selected entrepreneurs. 

One of the most imaginative and inspiring segments of the day was Phil Gilbert, General Manager of IBM Design. Phil positioned Design as being about Desire to engage in a relationship. He talked passionately about Design Thinking being rooted in a deep empathy with real users. When design clicks, it brings democratic access for real benefit and the “magic happens”. He referred to Workday, which is a Cloud-based solutions software for HR and Finance that illustrates how to bring together design and elegant utility.

Clearly, there was great thought, preparation, and experience on display at SmartCamp. Several of my recently graduated  Hult students attended, and they were uniformly inspired. Thank you IBM for hosting this great event, and I hope more people will be able to see and benefit from SmartCamp in future years.

Jeff Saperstein is a professor at Hult International Business School