Reflections from the 2013 IBM SmartCamp Global Finals winner, Coriell Life Sciences

Recently, Shari Chiara, an Ecosystem Development Marketing Manager with IBM, caught up with Scott Megill, CEO of Coriell Life Sciences, to talk with him about his startup company’s experiences at last year’s SmartCamp North American regionals and the global finals. Below is an excerpt taken from the interview.

Shari Chiara:     After winning the North American regional final, you went on to win the whole thing (IBM SmartCamp Global Finals). Looking back on it now, what was the value for Coriell Life Sciences in regards to the global finals and the Global Entrepreneurial Program?

Scott Megill:     It was a great experience for us, no doubt about it.   We learned  a lot from the mentors that were part of the program itself in a very constructive way.  The way I describe it  to the people who ask what IBM SmartCamp is,  is that it was sort of like American Idol for Entrepreneurs.

Shari Chiara:     Very good analogy!

Scott Megill:     They (IBM Global Entrepreneur Program team) combed the globe trying to find companies, and then it sort of got winnowed down through these various competitions, and ultimately to this panel of judges that were sitting there, looking at a very small facet of the business.

But  what happened on stage was the tip of the iceberg because it was preceded by all this mentoring that we went through twice – first through the national and then the global competition. At the global finals, we got an opportunity to sit in front of some really experienced and deep thinking people about how you build a businesses.

And  we got poked and prodded, and every little aspect of our business was sort of put up to the light.  For us, this was great because we got to feel really validated by a lot of the things that we’d been doing. But it also highlighted some weaknesses in our story.

So as we left the North American regionals,  we felt like we had a better way of actually communicating what we’re doing, and telling the story.   We then went off and raised another $1 million based on what we learned from that competition. Just taking the crispness and the story refinement that we learned at the North American regionals out to further investors, we picked up another dozen angel investors and brought in another million bucks, and all that.

And, that clearly was an outcome for us just of the North American regional finals.

Now having won the global finals, well one, I’m getting inundated with press, which is fantastic. You know, the more we can get the word out there, the better. But what it’s really done I think most importantly for us recently has been to cement the relationship with IBM.   We were certainly knocking on the door of a lot of different aspects of IBM for a long time.  This has been a door opener for us in a way that we didn’t really have before.

At IBM Pulse, I had dinner with Steve Mills (IBM Senior VP)  and then a  one-on-one with him.  I don’t think that’s something that  would’ve occurred had we not gone through the Global Entrepreneur Program.

Scott shares his thoughts on Cloud at IBM Pulse 2014

What’s next for Coriell Life Sciences?   Scott will be at IBM Impact next week (April 27th to May 1) – speaking during the Tuesday morning “Made with IBM” General Session in front of thousands of attendees!

For more information about Coriell Life Sciences, and their partnership with IBM, check out these blog links:

For information on how you and your startup can partner with IBM, visit our Global Entrepreneur Program web site.


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Smarter Commerce Global Summit is coming! Now’s the time to check out the latest Smarter Commerce offering!

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.”

Find out more about the Ready for Smarter Commerce validation program.

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BlueMix Days are coming to you worldwide

We set out to educate the ecosystem on our new Codename: BlueMix platform with 100 BlueMix Days hands-on workshops, but the program has taken off and is soaring way past 100! We’ve got nearly 200 BlueMix Days planned around the world, and the workshops have expanded into three BlueMix Days tracks:

  1. BlueMix Meetups – Participants can relax, network and listen to IBM experts provide an overview and live demo of Codename: BlueMix.
  2. BlueMix Advantage – Developers and business leasders can hear how BlueMix and SoftLayer offer a low-risk, secure, const sensitive environment.
  3. BlueMix Hands-On Workshops – Participants can build and deploy applications on BlueMix (built on SoftLayer) and its service like DevOps and Data.

For more information, watch the embedded video and see the image below.


BlueMix Days infographic for worldwide events

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Take the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge

Did you know IBM Watson interacts with humans on human terms? And did you know that Watson can read and understand natural language, in things like tweets, texts, articles, studies and reports?

We are looking for developers and entrepreneurs who can design, develop and deploy cutting-edge mobile apps that contain a question and answer requirement utilizing Watson’s natural language ability.

Over the next three months, we are inviting developers and entrepreneurs from across the ecosystem to share their best ideas and come together to build mobile apps into these natural language prototypes. Three winners will join the Watson Ecosystem Program! The winners will work with IBM Interactive Experience to receive design and development support to help them build a commercial app.

You can find out more about the challenge in this video:

Will you take the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge?

Start by submitting your proposal here.

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MyMenu wins the IBM Pulse App Throwdown!

First, there were 5 finalists: STEALTHbits, Redis Labs, Silversky, CloudOne, and MyMenu. All of these IBM Business Partners have compelling cloud-based solutions. But one stood out from the rest, and that was MyMenu!

This early adopter of the IBM Bluemix beta is bringing a menu of cloud, big data and mobile to restaurants, at the same time helping to reduce ‘apathy’ induced by downloading a separate app for every restaurant visited.

What a fantastic idea and a creative cloud solution!

Find out more about each of the finalists’ solutions in this brief video.

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Not siloed: The promise of cloud technology in the healthcare industry

Scott Megill, of Coriell Life Sciences, was spotted at this year’s IBM Pulse conference. Fresh off his victory at the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals, Scott was interviewed about his thoughts on cloud  technology.

He talked about his excitement for IBM’s cloud technology and the flexibility it gives to a healthcare company, like Coriell Life Sciences:

“What really excites me about cloud, and the ability to implement this on a global scale, is that we can be agnostic of the healthcare systems and agnostic of these entrenched electronic medical records systems…”

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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!

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