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IBM Offers New Technology, Sales and Marketing Resources to Venture-Backed Start Ups


Innovation Centers and New Global Resources Help Start Ups Reach New Markets and Bolster the Development of Emerging Technologies

ARMONK, NY - 21 Sep 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new initiative to help spur innovation in the marketplace with the venture capital (VC) community. As part of the new program, IBM will provide venture capital firms and their portfolio companies with unprecedented access to its worldwide Innovation Centers to help co-develop leading-edge technology solutions.

IBM will also offer technology, sales, and marketing resources to help VC-backed start ups worldwide go to market faster with tailored technology support at 30-plus IBM Innovation Centers, allowing the companies to reduce development costs of advanced and emerging technologies such as virtualization, security, service-oriented architecture (SOA), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), blade servers, POWER architecture, Web 2.0, and wireless.

“IBM is at the center of innovation and this effort is evidence of IBM’s continued commitment to helping small companies gain access to IBM’s specialized expertise, hardware, software, and global marketing and sales teams,” said Kevin Fong, managing director, Mayfield Fund. “IBM is playing a significant role in the market with its forward-thinking approach to accelerating the pace of innovation. Access to IBM technology and expertise at no charge offers an invaluable advantage to our portfolio companies, saving them money and enabling them to speed their solution to market.”

The combination of IBM’s technical and business expertise, with the increased funding by the venture capital community, creates a tremendous opportunity for IBM, VCs, and a new generation of technology companies to direct the future of the industry. By exchanging ideas and information, venture capital partners, IBM, and start ups will gain technology and business insight into specific directions that technology is likely to take, allowing high potential portfolio companies to develop their solutions faster and at a lower cost.

This new initiative was announced today at IBM’s Venture Capital Symposium, the second annual meeting bringing together over 140 top tier venture capitalists, portfolio companies, IBM, and faculty members at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. The symposium serves as a venue for these innovative organizations and individuals to share ideas, establish collaborative relationships, and discuss the future of technology.

“It has become increasingly beneficial for companies and individuals to share ideas and work together to develop breakthrough technologies,” said Claudia Fan Munce, managing director, IBM Venture Capital Group. “We’re bringing together IBM, venture capital community, and start ups in an effort to spark new ideas, encourage collaborative innovation, and ultimately help start ups around the world go to market and succeed.”

Expand Globally through Regional IBM Innovation Centers and Virtual Resources

As part of today’s announcement, IBM will now provide venture capital firms and their portfolio companies with access to technical, sales, and marketing resources at no charge. These resources will help them implement emerging technologies, secure porting labs, and obtain access to expert assistance throughout the development process of a technology solution.

Now venture capital firms and qualified portfolio companies can gain direct insight into emerging technologies coming out of IBM Innovation Centers across the globe. This year alone, IBM Innovation Centers carried out over 4,000 technology enablements with business partners, with nearly 9,500 developers gaining skills in IBM technologies taught by e-architects and brand experts.

“Access to IBM’s experts has been a tremendous asset that is helping expedite our .NET to J2EE porting services at a limited cost, as well as optimize the performance of customers’ .NET applications running on IBM middleware and Linux,” said Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft Corporation. “IBM architects’ hands-on guidance helps speed the development of our solution, enabling us to go to market faster with each update. Most importantly, our collaboration with IBM has given us greater credibility to extend our cross-platform services beyond our traditional customer base of software vendors to enterprise IT customers, and the global presence and regional assistance through the innovation centers is helping us meet the localized needs of customers in each market.”

Venture Capital-backed start ups gain access to:

* IBM Innovation Centers for Business Partners - Venture-backed start ups will have access to experienced technical architects at IBM Innovation Centers, at no charge, to help them expand solutions to different platforms and provide access to new markets.
* Virtual Loaner Program - VC-backed portfolio companies gain remote access to IBM services, operating systems, and middleware. This will enable start ups to test their application environment at no charge while developing their solution. IBM will also provide consultation with e- architects during the development process of the solution to help fine-tune the product or solution under development.
* Virtual Workshops - Start-ups will also gain access to virtual workshops on IBM hardware and software that will be taught by skilled technical architects from the IBM Innovation Centers. Start ups can attend classes from their home, office, or even local coffee shop -- simply by dialing into a lecture via phone or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and can access courses from their desktop.
* Virtual Innovation Center - Start ups not close to one of the regional IBM Innovation Centers can remotely access the same testing, enablement, and deploying benefits through IBM’s Virtual Innovation Center.
* New Sales Incentives and Marketing Resources for VC-backed Start Ups - IBM is introducing new ways to invest and promote solutions developed by VC- backed start ups. IBM will help start ups host web seminars for demand generation to drive awareness about new solutions, offer discounted advertising for VC-backed partners, and offer access to IBM’s sales force enabling them to shorten sales cycles, close deals faster, and gain instant credibility with new customers.

IBM already has received positive interest in Innovation Centers from VCs and start ups located in Brazil, India, and China. Start ups including Ranal Group in India, Altair in Shanghai, China, and others are already collaborating with IBM experts to build and test solutions.

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