by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

IBM Global Entrepreneur Program lures startups to the cloud

Published November 12, 2014


The road to success for startups and entrepreneurs has always been long and precarious, and in today’s ultra-competitive market, many turn to cloud and mobile technologies to gain an edge. This week, IBM made moves to be the only hand that today’s innovators grab onto for that final leap to the top.

Big Blue’s Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups aims to entice startups and entrepreneurs to IBM Cloud over other leading cloud vendors by offering those who qualify up to $120,000 worth of free cloud credits, as well as connections into IBM’s vast global network of enterprise clients, consultants, Innovation Centers, and more.

“What IBM is doing today is very historic,” says Sandy Carter, General Manager of IBM Ecosystem Development. “It’s a real winner if you are a startup or entrepreneur.”

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With IBM support, startups can confidently get into the marketplace and break through the noise, says Paolo Privitera, CEO of Pick1, a real-time survey and social analytics platform that enables companies to create seamless, engaging polls and complex surveys, and provides comprehensive analytics, remarketing, and retargeting features.

“We are really thrilled,” he says. Privitera points to the three main areas startups need to successfully enter the enterprise--validation of a partner that believes in you, great exposure with marketing and getting your name out there, and having the media proof of sales.

IBM has packaged its Bluemix tools along with the power and muscle of its community to help startups build and capitalize on cloud opportunities. The global program gives these companies the instant infrastructure they need to quickly launch their businesses and focus resources on coding, building, scaling, and bringing innovations to market. Entrepreneurs will be given access to the IBM’s entire cloud portfolio, which is built on SoftLayer, an IBM company, and includes Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform for app development with more than 75 runtimes and services.

IBM Bluemix, which launched into full production this year, offers developers a range of services that continues to grow. Just last month, IBM announced a partnership with Twitter that integrates the social media’s global social data insights with IBM Watson analytics. Bluemix also offers Aspera’s high-speed data transfer tools, application health and performance monitoring services, and a flexible, high-performing database-as-a-service through Cloudant.

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“The IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups provides a comprehensive and strong network of resources to drive collaborative cloud innovation,” says Promod Haque of Norwest Ventures in a release. “By enabling access to IBM’s broad and fast-growing enterprise cloud portfolio and third-party cloud services built around open APIs, startups can now more easily build and monetize their solutions. More importantly, by providing a global path to the enterprise, this program can help accelerate the rate at which cloud startups can get to market and scale.”

This program is the latest in a series of recent actions by IBM to tap the power of the cloud to spur innovation among early-stage startups and developers. In this past year alone, IBM partnered with the city of New York to build and launch digital.NYC, the city's new, cloud-based resource hub for its tech community. IBM also launched its first Bluemix Garage in San Francisco, and just last month, IBM unleashed its Watson APIs on Bluemix to give developers the power to build with the latest cognitive computing technology.

The ability to tap into IBM technology and also maintain the focus of a startup is the best of both worlds, says Dr. Joonas Lehtinen, CEO of Vaadin, an international startup offering a rapidly growing platform for web development.

“We are excited about Bluemix because our platform shares the same passion for minimizing development time and making user experience as smooth as possible,” said Lehtinen. “Together with IBM, we look forward to helping developers minimize the time from an idea to the first such production version of an app optimized for user experience—both on desktop and mobile.”

For Mark Gorenberg, Managing Director of Zetta Venture Partners, the benefit of advice and collaboration is extremely important in the early stages of growth and is a missing link among the startup community. With this program, IBM aims to cultivate these opportunities for exposure, connections, and partnerships through face-to-face IBM-facilitated networking dinners, CIO and entrepreneur meet-ups, and other events around the world. Entrepreneurs will also have access to technical support and consulting through IBM’s growing global network of 43 Innovation Centers, its new incubator space at its Watson Headquarters in Silicon Alley, and the expanding network of Bluemix Garages.



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