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IBM and Columbia University Launch Two Accelerator Programs for Blockchain Startups

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IBM and Columbia University today announced two new accelerator programs to build and scale the next generation of blockchain innovation. As key components of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, the accelerators will offer entrepreneurs and blockchain network founders around the world access to the expertise and resources they need to establish blockchain networks.

The programs will each support ten startups that are working to build out blockchain businesses and developing enterprise blockchain networks. As part of each program, participants will explore best practices for building a blockchain network with technical, academic and business mentors from IBM and Columbia. They will have access to agile design workshops from IBM, an experienced network of business and technical support, connections to the Columbia research community and student talent pools, business value design assistance and access to IBM Cloud technology through the program. 

The goal of these programs is to help network founders develop their ideas into sustainable and scalable companies offering blockchain solutions. For those already further along in their journey, the programs are designed to help them achieve scale and build successful business networks. As blockchain technology continues to grow in popularity, its value is tied to the strength of the networks that use it. By helping companies build scalable solutions, the programs can foster meaningful enterprise blockchain adoption and drive business efficiencies across industries.

“The possibilities presented by blockchain technology are seemingly endless, and we are seeing strong dedication by technical talent to build game-changing applications,” said David Post, Managing Director, IBM Blockchain Accelerator. “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.” 

The IBM Blockchain Accelerator  is designed for later-stage growth companies globally and focused on building out an enterprise business network and client base for their blockchain application. This will take place over approximately eight weeks with a mixture of in-person modules in New York and San Francisco, in combination with virtual programming, to ensure that founders can participate while devoting time and energy to scaling their businesses. 

The Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is designed for pre-seed, idea-stage companies with a Columbia or other recognized New York City-based University affiliation. This will take place on-site in New York City for approximately eight weeks, where founders will receive tools and training on how to build a blockchain startup. This is the sixth accelerator program hosted by Columbia that focuses on pre-seed founders. 

“Columbia University has successfully launched several technology accelerators in New York City, but this our first in partnership with a corporation that is a clear industry leader in the field,” said Satish Rao, Executive Director, Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator. “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.”

Both programs will give companies access to technology and services valued at approximately $400K per company. Nominations for the IBM Blockchain Accelerator are now open. Applications for Launch will open in January 2019. IBM and Columbia do not take equity nor charge a fee for participating in either of these programs.

The IBM business model is built to support two principal goals: helping clients succeed in delivering business value by becoming more innovative, efficient and competitive through the use of business insight and information technology (IT) solutions; and, providing long-term value to shareholders. The business model has been developed over time through strategic investments in capabilities and technologies that have the best long-term growth and profitability prospects based on the value they deliver to clients. The company's strategy is to focus on the high-growth, high-value segments of the IT industry. The company's global capabilities include services, software, hardware, fundamental research and financing. The broad mix of businesses and capabilities are combined to provide business insight and solutions for the company's clients.

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