On Nov. 19th, 2018, IBM and Columbia University announced the introduction of two new blockchain startup accelerators as critical components of their center for research, education, and innovation in blockchain technology and data transparency.
IBM Network and Columbia Launch to accelerate industry adoption
The joint venture, part of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, will provide 20 entrepreneurs and blockchain network founders worldwide with access to the assets, knowledge, and support they need to build sustainable blockchain businesses and enterprise-grade blockchain networks.
IBM's Network Blockchain Accelerator will expedite the global development of ten later-stage growth companies, and focus on building out an enterprise-grade business network and client base for their blockchain solution.
According to David Post, Managing Director of IBM Blockchain Accelerator, “The possibilities presented by blockchain technology are seemingly endless, and we see strong dedication by technical talent to build game-changing applications.” He believes that adoption is inevitable and “what is also needed to truly bring about this sea change is the right technology and expertise which is why IBM is working with Columbia to help give these early- and mid-stage founders a way to build enterprise-grade networks that can move blockchain innovation forward.”
In contrast, the Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is intended to provide ten pre-seed, idea-stage companies with the necessary expertise and tools on how to build a blockchain startup, as long as it is in affiliation with the Columbia or any NYC-based University.
Satish Rao, Executive Director of the Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator, expressed confidence that “Early- and late-stage teams will undoubtedly benefit from IBM’s technology resources, expertise and established network coupled with Columbia’s ground-breaking research and talent in blockchain and data transparency, all while benefiting from rapidly growing NYC blockchain communities.”
Beyond Blockchain Tech: Sustainable Business Development
The two accelerator programs will empower companies and their teams with the aid of an expert network of business and technical support teams, workshops from IBM, as well as access to connections to the Columbia research community, student talent pools, and the IBM Cloud technology. As part of the accelerator plan, entrepreneurs will investigate what are the best practices for building a secure and sustainable blockchain network and ecosystem with the guidance of academic, technical, and business tutors from IBM, the Columbia University and other organizations.
Both programs are expected to launch in Q1 of 2019, while IBM Network has already opened nominations. Since they are invite-only, to apply, companies must look for the recommendation of investors, customers or IBM representatives. The Columbia Launch program is designed to help up to seed-funded startups.
Upon completion of the accelerator, IBM may decide to enter into strategic partnerships with the firms to assist them with establishing and/or scaling the concepts developed during the program.