Back in February during our big Entrepreneur Week, we hosted our first-ever Entrepreneur Huddle webcast. Next week, on May 22nd, we’ll have our second Entrepreneur Huddle and you’re invited!
The Huddle is a webcast for startups, tech enthusiasts, current IBM Global Entrepreneur members, and any other person involved or interested in the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Coming on the heels of IBM’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit this week, our next Entrepreneur Huddle will focus on themes in the commerce space, including the CMO point of view, creating a rewarding customer experience, and making moments matter using the right technology. So tune in to learn from commerce experts, as well as a current IBM Global Entrepreneur startup who is using technology to shake up the fulfillment and supply chain model.
During the webcast, you will be able to pose questions and comments on Twitter using #IBMGEHuddle. And if you can’t make the scheduled webcast time, don’t worry. There will be a replay available for you to watch on-demand, and possibly another live broadcast option!
With the Smarter Commerce Global Summit coming up next month, this is a great time to highlight one of IBM’s newest validation offerings available to IBM Business Partners, including our Global Entrepreneur Program members.
The Ready for Smarter Commerce validation gives customers access to certified pre-built partner solutions with integrated cloud, mobile and social capabilities. The ecosystem features partner-led solutions built on IBM Smarter Commerce capabilities such as IBM Commerce, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization and more.
At a time when Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), VPs of eCommerce and other business leaders face increased pressure to deliver new capabilities at light speed, the Ready for Smarter Commerce program provides pre-configured solutions based on open standards to accelerate innovation and time to value. The new ecosystem is expected to deliver 150 new Ready for Smarter Commerce solutions this year.
Already we’ve seen Business Partners, such as Invodo, achieve their Ready for Smarter Commerce validation and then tap into the IBM Business Partner channel to increase sales.
“IBM is a leader in delivering cloud-based mobile, social and digital experiences that help retailers and other organizations differentiate their offerings,” said Keith Blankenship, Invodo’s Director of Strategic Alliances. “The new program gives us a rich channel to deliver our solutions, which are integrated with both IBM Commerce and IBM Digital Analytics, to a growing ecosystem of IBM partners, clients and developers. It also gives us access to complementary capabilities that will help us further enhance and extend our core video offerings.”
Over a month ago on October 5th, startup Viewsy was named winner of IBM’s London SmartCamp Kickstart event, beating out four other finalists for the title. This week, they will compete at the SmartCamp European Regional Final in Berlin, with the final presentations being held in a public session this Wednesday Nov. 14th.
Viewsy uses smart analytics to detect signals (anonymously) from mobile phones so they can track how many people pass through locations, are queuing, how long they dwell and what holds their attention. Retailers, owners of large venues or public buildings will be able to find out which displays or signage work best, and restaurants and catering kiosks can find out how many people are taking up special offers or make a repeat visit. As Viewsy puts it, “what you measure you can manage,” and their solution has the potential to offer retailers very valuable insight into consumer behavior.
When asked about their upcoming appearance at the Regional Final, Viewsy had this to say: “Viewsy is very happy to be at Berlin Smart Camp as the winner of Smart Camp UK 2012. We can’t wait to share with the great people of Berlin Viewsy’s game-changing technology and our shared belief in the need for speed.”
Ever wonder what happens to startup companies after they’ve won an IBM SmartCamp? We caught up with Streetlight Data, the North American Co-Winner from the regional SmartCamp event in Boston this past June. We asked founder and CEO Laura Schewel what they took away from their SmartCamp experience and where the company is now.
Give me your elevator pitch: what does StreetLight Data do and why is it unique?
StreetLight Data describes how people use their city. What web analytics does for e-commerce, we do for in-store commerce. We provide metrics like: for this corner on a typical Tuesday afternoon, what percent of people coming by are over 40? Make less than $60k/year? How many are going shopping? For the retail ecosystem this means answering questions that have never before been answered: Who is coming by my store and NOT coming in? We also open up insights that can radically improve transportation and urban planning. Our solutions depend on our Route Science(TM) engine, which puts messy transportation data in context, leveraging archival data exhaust from the location-based services industry.
What do you think was the key to your winning SmartCamp Boston?
I think we won Smart Camp Boston for three reasons. First, our product provides a linkage between Smarter Commerce and Smarter Cities, both of which are pillars of IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy. Commerce and good urban quality of life and jobs should go hand in hand, and both should be able to exist in a world that has mobility without relying on fossil fuels. StreetLight highlights the fact that it’s all connected.
Second, we are extremely enthusiastic about what we do. We love it. That came through to the judges, and they consider that as an indicator of entrepreneurial success, even though we were earlier stage than the other companies in Boston.
Third, what we do relies on data and analytics. IBM loves data and analytics.
How has your SmartCamp experience shaped the company? Is there anything you do differently now?
The mentoring sessions directly shaped our pitch to investors. For example, we lead with examples of projects and clients using our product, instead of a “big picture” intro.
We have also started to learn more and meet more people within the IBM family, learning how to set our product on a path to be collaborative with some of the IBM services and products.
In what way did the SmartCamp experience help StreetLight Data most?
For such an early stage company, IBM’s stamp of approval has been an extraordinary way to boost our credibility with clients and investors. Also, being able to point to IBM’s commitment to commercial and city-oriented analytics markets, and their research into these markets, has validated that they ARE markets worth exploring by big and small companies alike.
In this economic environment, what is your best piece of advice for new startups?
Get a paying client. They will teach you more than 12 months of R&D could about what your product and business will be.
Responses provided by Laura Schewel, founder and CEO of Streetlight Data.