The second day of the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals, Feb 6th 2013, was an intense day for all of our finalists. The morning kicked off with a presentation by Albert Lee, Managing Director of IDEO, on the importance of “design,” that is, tapping into human creativity to foster innovation and problem-solve more efficiently. Then it was time for each of the eight finalists to present their five-minute business pitches to the more than 50 mentors in the room.
After the presentations, it was time to get down to the real work of the day; the mentor sessions. The finalists rotated between eight tables with a half-a-dozen or so mentors sitting at each, spending 40 minutes per table. During each of these sessions the finalists explained their companies in more depth while the mentors scrutinized and critiqued every aspect of their business and presentations. The mentors offered recommendations on how to improve their pitches or improve areas of their business model.
The sessions were quite grueling for the finalists and though they were very appreciative of the mentors’ fine guidance, the mid-afternoon cookie break was a welcome relief. Finally, after just about five and a half hours of mentoring, the day came to a close with some remarks by Paul Brunet, Vice President of ISVs, Startups & Academic Programs.
The finalists did have a chance to breathe a bit afterwards at the reception followed by a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. They enjoyed food and drinks and networking in a more relaxed setting and hopefully were able to put off thinking about their pitches for a little while at least.