A US technology accelerator, the DotCom Incubator Services programme, has expanded its initiative, creating a new European programme aimed at accelerating e-business in Europe. The European DotCom Incubator programme is sponsored by Conxion Corporation, an integrated Internet infrastructure services provider, and IBM, the information technology company. The US programme was set up in November last year and has invested in around 60 companies to date. Phyllis Davidson, senior manager of the DotCom Incubator Services programme, is very excited about starting activity in Europe and anticipates that the venture will grow faster in Europe than it has in the US.
The complete incubator service provides comprehensive Internet infrastructure and services, including servers, software, Internet hosting and managed services, tools and fully-monitored support for a six-month period. The package is valued at approximately $1 million and Davidson describes the service as unique in its sector. She stresses that it is not an equity model and is offered at no charge to participants during their development period.
She adds that in the long term Conxion will benefit from the venture by gaining potential customers who will continue to use Conxion’s services and tools after their six-month incubation period.
The programme is said to differ from other incubators and accelerators with a philosophy that does not require the start-ups to already have venture capital or other funding. Davidson remarks, “We’re trying to break a vicious cycle affecting dotcom startups: in order to get funding, they need proof of concept, but to get that they need funding”. She adds that the venture presents a wonderful opportunity for Conxion to introduce itself to the European audience.
IBM is said to be instrumental in helping meet the needs of the companies and helping to partner with selectors. Jim Corgel, general manager of IBM Global Net Generation Business, states that IBM’s rapid build pack for start-ups and established Internet businesses that launched in Europe in June complements the DotCom Incubator Service, offering a unique and comprehensive package of consultancy and services. He stressed that Internet start-ups are at the heart of the Internet revolution and the new programme is a way to help jump-start these companies.
Garage.com, the venture capital investment bank that provides funding services for high-tech start-ups has been chosen as one of the first selectors to qualify start-ups for admission to the programme. Companies will be selected on the basis of four factors strength of team, market opportunity, stage of development and need for a long-term, scalable, end-to-end Internet infrastructure.