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IBM Collaborates With Venture Capital Firms to Accelerate Innovation in Brazil

Launches No-Charge Resources to Help Developers, Students and Academics Gain New Skills

SAO PAULO, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At the IBM (NYSE: IBM) Venture Capital Forum in Sao Paulo, IBM today announced new initiatives to help boost innovation with venture capitalists in Brazil in support of demand for digital infrastructure projects in telecommunications, healthcare and energy industries.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO )

As part of the forum, IBM and FINEP -- the Brazilian Innovation Finance Agency -- are collaborating to fuel new ecosystems by helping to establish new relationships between IBM business partners and venture capital firms. IBM partners will be given the opportunity to present live demonstrations of business plans and technology concepts, and hear from venture capital experts on key technology trends and investment opportunities they are exploring.

The Brazilian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (ABVCAP) and Endeavor (the Organization for Entrepreneurship Support in Brazil) are also collaborating with IBM on the forum.

IBM is bringing together venture capital firms including DFJ FIR Capital and Rio Bravo, local IBM business partners and universities to fuel new ecosystems around key technology trends in the region. "Initiatives like this one from IBM are valuable because it helps foster technological development in Brazil," said Renato Marques of FINEP, New Business Development Manager. "By working with IBM, Brazilian startups will be better prepared to scale their businesses and position themselves to attract venture funding."

Venture Capital Investments in Brazil

The forum, hosted at the Sao Paulo IBM Innovation Center, comes at a time when venture capital and technology investments in Brazil are on the rise. According to ABVCAP, investors committed $28 billion in venture and private equity capital at the end of 2008, up from $6 billion in 2004.

"We are always looking to expand our ecosystem of portfolio companies," said Marcus Regueira, founder and partner in Brazil's DFJ FIR Capital firm. "Businesses that are already in partnership with IBM bring credibility to the business plans and can result in interesting opportunities."

"Developing relationships with start-ups and IT professionals in Brazil is critical to the growth of IBM's ecosystem," said Claudia Fan Munce, vice president of corporate strategy and managing director of IBM's Venture Capital Group. "It's a partnership where everyone wins. IBM expands its network of business partners, while partners increase their client portfolio and can gain global reach."

Hoplon Infotainment, a Brazilian-based start-up and IBM partner, benefited from working with the IBM Venture Capital Group over the past year. The company develops large-scale online games, complex simulations, and other advanced information systems for both entertainment and corporate use based on IBM System z and Linux technologies.

"Partnering with IBM gave us credibility and a range of skills and business expertise that can't be matched," said Tarquinio "Tarq" Teles, the founder and CEO of Hoplon. "Access to the global reach, research, and sales and marketing expertise that comes from working with IBM, and the ability to get in front of the right venture capital firm are key to our company plans of raising new investments once we successfully take our product global."

New Resources to Accelerate Skills for the 21st Century

With today's news, IBM launched a Portuguese language version of IBM developerWorks, the world's largest online technical skills resource and community for developers, to support Brazil's growing ecosystem of 300,000 IT professionals. The site provides:

  • Skills training for hot technology areas including analytics, green IT, Web 2.0 and cloud computing.
  • Access to open source software tools, code, IT standards and best practices on open standards platforms such as Java, Linux and XML.
  • Over 250 IBM software self-teaching guides, how-to technical articles and tutorials to help developers build skills on leading IBM software including Lotus, Information Management, Rational, WebSphere and Tivoli.

As the largest and most visited global site available for gaining technology skills, IBM developerWorks is used by 8 million IT professionals -- reaching more than half of all the developers worldwide -- and has helped advance open standards and emerging technologies while making sure IT companies have the tools and skills to support their technology investments.

IBM today also announced it is making its entire portfolio of IBM Lotus software available at no-charge to accredited colleges and universities across Latin America for software development learning purposes. Based on growing demand for Web 2.0 and collaboration technology skills from industry clients and partners, IBM is providing academics with access to the software to help better prepare students as they enter the workforce. Available as a no-charge membership on the IBM Academic Initiative Web site, academics can now provide their students:

  • Developer instances of key Lotus software such as Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime and Lotus Domino.
  • Translated courseware for Lotus products from English to Spanish available later this year.
  • Greater accessibility to learning materials for Portuguese-speaking students through the free access of fully translated course materials in important Lotus technical skills areas available later this year.

Sao Paulo IBM Innovation Center

The Sao Paulo IBM Innovation Center, part of a network of 43 centers in 30 countries around the world, provides entrepreneurs, business partners, venture capitalists and academics with access to training, consulting services, a broad technical infrastructure, and hands-on assistance to help bring new technologies to market. At IBM Innovation Centers in 2008, more than 22,000 business partners attended workshops, seminars and architecture consultations to build their skills on IBM technologies, and over 7,000 new applications were enabled on IBM open standards-based technology.

For more information on the IBM Venture Capital Group, visit http://www.ibm.com/venturecapitalgroup

For more information on IBM developerWorks Brazil, visit www.ibm.com/developerWorks/br

For more information on the IBM Academic Initiative, visit https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/university/academicinitiative/

For more information about the IBM Innovation Center in Sao Paulo, visit http://ibm.com/partnerworld/iic/saopaulo.htm

CONTACT: Sean Tetpon, IBM Software Media Relations, 914-766-1276, [email protected], or Tod Freeman, IBM Software Media Relations, 415-320-5893, [email protected]

SOURCE IBM Corporation

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