Here is a short talk I give at universities and university incubators, and conferences that bring such groups together.
IBM priorities are CCAMSS = Cognitive, Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, Secure – and the service innovations that tie them all together and make them work for customers.
Regarding startups, our primary interest is (1) companies built on our platform (IBM’s platform), and (2) companies the sell to the Forbes Global 2000 (IBM’s primary customers).
In general, IBM is not interested in licensing any IP from universities – we create nearly 7000 patents a year in CCAMSS and related areas, and have been #1 company in the world for 21 years on patent creation, which is about a $1B year licensing business for us. We do have tools to help universities license their patents to others though – see IBM SIIP tool, now Watson Discovery Advisor.
IBM has acquired over 140 companies in the last 14 years, about one a month, average age 15 years old on acquisition, and about 66% of them started in a university ecosystem (e.g., SPSS), and average revenue per year on acquisition is order of magnitude $100M rev/year.
IBM is very interested in helping universities create more successful startups that can go zero to a billion in revenue. We have programs to help startups grow that are built on our platform and sell to our customers. IBM has programs that help startups sell to big companies – supplier connection.
We see one of the largest opportunities for startups in developing enterprise mobile apps, including cognitive assistants for all occupations as part of smart service systems.
To accelerate collaborations with IBM, a university might ask these maturity of relationship questions:
(1) does IBM (or IBM customers) recruit students from the university?
(2) do the faculty teach with IBM tools and platform – freely available through the academic initiative?
(3) does the university create startups based on IBM platform?
(4) does the university participate in Smart Camps & Global Entrepreneurship program?
(5) do the startups as they mature make use of the IBM Supplier Connect or other platforms?
(6) does the university and broader ecosystem use any IBM solutions from HPC to asset management?
(7) are there opportunities to purse collaborative research projects together?
(8) is there a regional economic development play (e.g., NY state with RPI, OH state with OSU, LA state with LSU, etc.)?
(9) does the university have a full IBM team engaged, PEP, Client Exec, Academic Initiatives Lead, IBMers on Campus, etc.
The best relationships have a full IBM team engaged in regional economic development with universities at the center.