IBM is looking to put its venture capital funds behind a new generation of startups that focus on the use of analytical platforms to solve common enterprise and public infrastructure problems.
Speaking at the firm's Global SmartCamp event in San Francisco, IBM venture capital group director of strategy Drew Clark told V3 the company has been seeking out startups it can partner with on its Smarter Planet initiative.
Clark said that while many other venture capital and startup funding projects look to certain technologies or platforms that are often focused on the consumer space, IBM's SmartCamp effort has been seeking out startups that provide vital analytical detail for enterprises and government organisations.
"We are looking to really find partners that want to be part of solutions we introduce to our other partners," Clark said.
"We are looking for partners that can take advantage of the heavy lifting we do."
One of the startups IBM has already identified is retail analytics firm Profitero. The Dublin-based company was selected to represent the UK after winning IBM's London SmartCamp event.
The Profitero service uses a set of analytical tools to monitor customer behaviour in retail locations and web outlets, as well as updates on competing prices and patterns. By integrating with IBM's WebSphere platform, the company is able to scale its service to track more than 30 million products.
Another retail-focuseed startup spotted by IBM is C-B4. The Israeli startup uses high-level analytics to speed the return of results on business intelligence platforms.
Chief executive Irad Ben-Gal told V3 that C-B4 sees its service extending to a wide size and scope of potential customers in the coming years.
"It suits exactly the challenges that big data poses, because in big data you are forced to deal with a granular level of data, and do it very quickly, without having any assumptions," he said.
For Clark, both startups illustrate the ethos of the SmartCamp initiative in their approach and background.
He said IBM chose to focus on a global startup search in order to root out new approaches and innovations that would never arise in more established communities such as Silicon Valley
"We are a global company and our customers are global, so we need solutions that are global," Clark explained.
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