The Mayor of London office, with sponsorship from IBM, on June 15 launched Tech.London, a social network website for startups and entrepreneurs in the city. This is the third of IBM’s sponsorship of startup networks, and offers developers a number of incentives to reduce their cloud development costs on the IBM BlueMix cloud application development platform.
The other two cities in the program are New York (digital.NYC) and Berlin (TechBerlin.com), and more are expected to be launched. One of the schemes available from the vendor, which is working closely with venture capital (VC) funds in each city, is $100m of funding for startups that embed the IBM Watson artificial intelligence solution in their product. In return IBM receives an equity stake. There are already more than 1,000 startups registered on Tech.London.
London is home to 34,000 digital technology businesses (Europe’s largest concentration) and the biggest issue faced by these companies, and others hoping to launch, is VC funding. Often the recourse is a visit to Silicon Valley, but IBM is hoping that Tech.London will encourage a home-grown entrepreneurial funding culture.
Agile favors women in IT
Sandy Carter at IBM is heading up the BlueMix initiatives and also has an interest in promoting women in IT, where a gender imbalance still persists. Ovum has seen the effect that agile practices have had on the normalization of software development as a nine-to-five job, with developers selected for their social as well as technical skills, in contrast with the developer image of unsocial stereotypes and late-night working, which unfortunately still exists in some organizational cultures (typically those that are non-agile). Our advice for women who want to work in IT is to select organizations that follow agile practices, because their staff/gender ratio tends to be more balanced than non-agile cultures, and these environments are therefore more suitable.
Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst, Ovum Infrastructure Solutions Group