In cloud computing push, IBM keen to nurture start-ups

Venkatesh Ganesh | | Updated on: Nov 12, 2014
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In an effort to give its cloud computing segment a boost, IBM has extended its Global Entrepreneur Program to Indian start-ups. The initiative comes with $120,000 in credits that can be used to buy the company’s software.

Further, start-ups selected to be part of the programme will receive technical support, have access to a network of mentors and get introductions to some of IBM’s enterprise clients, said Vanitha Narayanan, MD, IBM India, addressing delegates at the CeBIT India conference.

IBM is focusing on recruiting start-ups that are less than five years old and that have already raised some funds from angel investors, accelerators or venture capitalists, according to company sources.

The company is taking this outreach approach as it is under intense fire due to poor growth over recent quarters, which has impacted its financial performance, said the analysts. This push towards cloud computing is starting to gain considerable steam. Last year, it bought SoftLayer Technologies for $2 billion. Similarly, IBM has partnered with other software companies such as JDA and last month opened a 30,000 square feet facility in Mumbai that is part of an expansion to 15 cloud centres. This is in addition to a $1.2-billion investment by IBM Cloud to expand its cloud computing presence around the world. Big Blue is following in the footsteps of rival Microsoft, which through Microsoft Ventures, has reached out to start-ups by offering free software and mentorship. This, in turn, helps adoption of its Azure and other Microsoft software by businesses all over the world. Other firms such as Intel Capital and Qualcomm have similar initiatives. Technology giants are seeing a lot of growth in the technology start-up ecosystem. According to a recent Nasscom report, with 3,100 technology start-ups, the country is home to the third-largest start-up base in the world.

An additional driving force is a four-fold increase in access to capital through VCs, angel investments and seed funding. This is allowing Indian entrepreneurs to build tailor-made products for their customers, attracting multinationals as well as Indian investors, says R Chandrashekhar, President of Nasscom.

Published on January 24, 2018

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