IBM SmartCamp Austin winner, and Day 2 impressions
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Jim Corgel, IBM GM of ISV and Developer Relations, opened the final presentation session with some words about IBM's embrace of entrepreneurs and commitment to supporting and leading in the drive for technology that is enabling a smarter planet. Scott Case, entrepreneur, a founder of AOL, and CEO of Startup America Partnership, joined by webcam for a Q&A. What stood out to me most was his emphasis on how new companies -- five-years-old or younger -- are a principal driving force in growth and innovation right now.
As to the presentations from the IBM SmartCamp Austin finalists, I'm learning that a good business pitch includes defining the problem and need, the solution and how your company's offering is unique, the market opportunity, a helicopter sense of the go-to-market strategy, and identifying the competition in general and how your company stands out from the pack. That does not sound easy to me, and clearly it isn't. It's not just about compelling content, or a good, animated speaking voice, or moving swiftly through content, although all of that is helpful. It's also about great story-telling. Maybe we should all be reading more Mark Twain, out loud at home, daily.
SecureWaters had more of a balance with those elements today, as they pitched their company mission and flagship product, AquaSentinel. Threats to municipal water supplies are clear and growing, and with now over half of the world's population living in cities, you would think the case for smarter water quality-monitoring would be self-evident. I was stilla bit underwhelmed, but maybe that's because I have a hard-time believing we in the U.S. spend billions on security and are not already monitoring water quality for real-time alert. But if we aren't, SecureWaters sounds like slamdunk smart tech, and a slamdunk IBM SmartCamp winner.
Waldo Health was disadvantaged by a technical glitch on audio for their video element -- a example of why a solid old-school standup talk is still where a great business presentation always starts. They appear to be focusing business strategy on providing exceptional customer service in a space where the lack thereof has inhibited technology adoption. Their in-home patient monitoring technology would strike me as having many competitors, since in-home care is increasing rapidly in the U.S. But that also means they are in a space of huge potential.
DXUPCLOSE, another healthcare industry startup, is all about providing solutions to the problem of incorrect antibiotic perscriptions, which average 10%. The subject is, to my sense of things, tough to captivate an audience with. Better than yesterday's presentation, but lacking the weave of a good yarn. But who am I to judge one antibiotic prescriber tech presentation over another?
Stormpulse, which offers technology to help business make smart sense of weather data to predict impact on their businesses, was the strongest yesterday, in my humble opinion. I was wondering how their presentation might be improved by the mentors at IBM SmartCamp Austin. They seemed to have scoped down to a slightly more pinpointed storyline with one soup-to-nuts example of how their tech can be used. Good stuff from a very interesting smarter planet-minded company. But I missed the jokes second time around.
Tactical Information Systems offers a platform for biometric matching in the cloud, which must mean the nicer side of Big Brother. They told a pretty good story yesterday, on how their technology will help caregivers keep track of at-risk young children or elderly. The shocking part to me is that there are currently 44 million caregivers in the US and growing. I don't know what that story is worldwide, but that would imply we're going to need a lot more smart solutions beyond just biometric tracking, to help us as the aging population we are.
And the winner is ... SecureWaters, Inc.!