IBM Canada, in partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Communitech, has unveiled the IBM Innovation Incubator at Waterloo’s Communitech innovation hub.
The new incubator, which is meant to help startups scale and compete globally, is part of IBM’s Innovation Incubator Project, an initiative that was funded with a $24.75 million investment from IBM and $22.75 million from the Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. IBM’s other innovation spaces are located at the Markham Convergence Centre, the DMZ, and MaRS.
“These kinds of collaboration spaces help entrepreneurs access expertise and advanced technologies they otherwise might not have access to, allowing our province’s innovators to test, develop and commercialize their ideas and connect to markets worldwide,” said Reza Moridi, minister of research, innovation, and science.
“These kinds of collaboration spaces help entrepreneurs access expertise and advanced technologies they otherwise might not have access to.”
IBM’s innovation spaces help small and medium-sized enterprises fast-track the launch of new technologies and deliver products to international clients. The incubators also provide resources such as IBM cloud and cognitive business technologies, as well as access to education, business mentorship, and legal counsel through IBM’s network, in order to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable, commercial businesses.
Among the startups already using the IBM Innovation Incubator at Communitech is Viral360, which uses predictive analytics to produce engaging video content for their clients. The company is using IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence capabilities and the Bluemix cloud platform to further develop its platform.
“The IBM Innovation Incubator at the Communitech Data Hub is a great example of the Province of Ontario working with a large company to provide start-ups with just the right support at the right time to achieve scale,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. “Not only are start-ups getting early access to and training in advanced IBM techniques and technologies, like Design Thinking and IBM Watson, but IBM is also providing the most promising start-ups with mentorship from IBM executives and access to IBM’s large customers to solve their big problems.”
IBM Innovation Spaces across the GTA are expected to leverage more than $410 million in private-sector investment and create up to 2,600 jobs by 2020.