Tech giant IBM has selected five start-ups to compete in its SmartCamp Kickstart event in Sydney, where they will receive mentoring before the winner is flown to Beijing for the finals.
IBM SmartCamp is an event aimed at identifying early stage entrepreneurs who are developing business ventures that align with IBM’s “Smarter Planet” vision.
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In 2010 and 2011, IBM held seventeen SmartCamp events around the world.
In each location, five finalists were selected to participate in a one or two-day event, during which time they worked with world-class entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts.
In 2012, the SmartCamp initiative is being expanded to new geographies, along with the introduction of a new type of event series: IBM SmartCamp KickStart events.
Selected finalists from the KickStart events will have the opportunity to advance to four SmartCamp regional events.
IBM has announced the five finalists for SmartCamp KickStart in Sydney, which will take place on September 6. Each start-up will receive mentoring and practice their pitch.
The finalists will compete to become the Sydney SmartCamp winner, who will be flown to Beijing to pitch at the finals. The finalists are as follows:
- Asdeq Labs provides AsdeqDocs, which enables users to securely access their corporate documents on their mobile device, wherever they are.
- CropLogic provides predictive decision support tools to crop growers and processors, enabling growers to improve yield and sustainability.
- InterfereX develops advanced radio modeling cloud-based software tools for wireless operators so they can efficiently design, plan, deploy and optimise small cell wireless networks.
- Kinesis delivers evidence-based sustainability solutions for implementation at the building, precinct and city-wide scales.
- QuintessenceLabs develops cyber security products empowered by quantum science to safeguard valuable electronic information even in the presence of network and system breaches.
According to Asdeq Labs managing director Mike Nermut, the selection process for IBM SmartCamp was quite rigorous.
“We were invited to present through a series of face-to-face meetings that culminated in a selection interview,” Nermut says.
“The selection interview was run over the phone with a panel chaired by a senior IBM executive in Ireland.”
According to IBM SmartCamp mentor Doug Farrington, the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in an investor pitch is underestimating their funding needs.
Farrington says it’s important for entrepreneurs to conduct a thorough analysis of their short-term and long-term funding needs before asking an investor for money.
Often, he says, entrepreneurs are so concerned about getting any funding at all that they don’t ask for more than what they absolutely need. But he warns this isn’t always wise.
“There are only so many times you want to go back to the well,” he says.
Farrington says entrepreneurs need to do “a fair analysis of the funding needed to accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish”, or they simply won’t succeed.