Q: Why apply for IBM SmartCamp?
A: Access to world-class mentors who understand your industry, networking and publicity that can lead to funding.
Q: How do I apply for IBM SmartCamp 2012
A: Read on
Context: It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m on route to Moscow to attend the EBAN conference for the first time. It’s been a hectic week which started with a small press event in Startupbootcamp on Monday morning and finished in the Lord Mayors House on Thursday with the Sandbox launch.
During the week there was a battery of events including the biggest angel meet-up on the Island, another great Archie Talk, a Dublin Web Summit meet-up, and a panel on how entrepreneurs and scienists should meet more. I spent most of the week at events and even then managed to miss the iGap finale.
Overall, I guess it is a sign of a healthy ecosystem and got me thinking about the value of events and how to balance with ‘real’ work. In particular how to we program a global series of SmartCamp events which respects the time our mentors give for free and while really helping entrepreneurs succeed.
We spent a lot of time during Q1 reviewing our strategy and we are delighted to introduce some new formats, new locations and a new category.
We plan more than 17 SmartCamp events worldwide this year. The schedule starts in Miami on May 15th with a new format focused on Healthcare. Over the last two years we have seen growing interest in certain topics and believe timing is right to have dedicated events. These one- and two-day events will bring together entrepreneurs, mentors and investors in particular industries. We follow this up in New York on May 24th with a focus on Smart Cities. The New York event was planned to coincide with TechCrunch Disrupt NYC to allow mentors and companies to make the most of the community.
We are introducing a new category of start-up that will continue to the global finals event. To ensure we continue to recognize the best early stage companies around the world we will now have a ‘best newcomer’ category at each event. We think combining this new category with our more traditional selection criteria will allow us to identify a strong, diverse group of companies for the 2012 IBM SmartCamp Global Finals.
We are very pleased that many of you have been a cornerstone in making our IBM Global Entrepreneur and IBM SmartCamp initiatives a success since its launch in 2010. Our hope was to help start-ups bring their new businesses to the international marketplace, and with your help over the last few years, companies have received significant press in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg, and raised over $50M in venture capital, with many going on to work closely with IBM and expand their businesses. In addition, the program is now live in 15 countries and we are very proud of the network of over 400 experienced mentors who give up their time to work with these companies.
In 2012 we are using the F6S platform in line with many of the leading accelerator programs. We believe this will make it even easier for entrepreneurs to apply for SmartCamp.
The full schedule is outlined below including a number of new locations like Cape Town and Mexico City. We are finalizing plans for a number of additional markets including Latin America and Russia and will provide more details at the end of April.
Otherwise, we hope we’ll see you soon at one of the events in the near future.
Schedule – KickStart Events
· Miami (15th May – healthcare focus)
· New York (24th May – smart cities focus)
· Munich (20th June)
· Bangalore (18th July)
· Tel Aviv (12th Sept)
· Moscow (mid Sept)
· Paris (28th Sept)
· Istanbul (3rd Oct)
· London (5th Oct)
· Cape Town (10th Oct)
· Mexico City (11th Oct)
· Moscow (Oct)
· Dublin (25th Oct)
Schedule – Regional Finals
These events will feed into the regional finals in the following locations
· Asia – Beijing (23rd/24th Sept)
· Europe\Middle East \Africa – Berlin (13th/14thNov)
· North America – Boston (20th/21st June)
· South America – Sao Paolo (28th/29th Nov)
It is hard to believe that in just over two years SmartCamp has expanded from a pilot in Dublin to a global program. We are totally dependent on the support of our partners and while IBM is a huge company we realize that for the planet to become smarter we need a global network of ecosystems of entrepreneurs and investors – all focused on the same prize of making the world world better.