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The Next Big Thing: Coming Soon to IGC

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arvind-sodhani_1-150x150.jpgThis blog was posted on behalf of Arvind Sodhani, executive vice president of Intel Corporation and president of Intel Capital.  Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment arm, directs the company's external investments, mergers and acquisitions in support of Intel's strategic objectives.

Some of the world’s most promising young innovators are gathering November 5 – 8 on the UC Berkeley campus to compete in the Intel Global Challenge (IGC), a competition where entrepreneurs share cutting edge ideas and business plans to vie for USD 100,000 in prizes. Their goal: get their businesses off the ground – maybe even become The Next Big Thing.

At Intel, we get it. After all, a few decades ago, a silicon semiconductor chip venture was simply the dream of Intel founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. Since then, Intel has grown into one of the biggest and most successful international corporations in the world.

It all starts with a good idea. And good ideas can come from anywhere. Not just Silicon Valley, the U.S., or countries that typically spring to mind when one thinks about innovation. In the most remote places in the world, people come up technology solutions to everyday problems. Innovation is everywhere.

And because we believe innovation is the key to economic growth and prosperity, both in small communities and in the world at large, Intel Capital scours the globe to find cutting-edge and relevant technology innovations. In fact, at Intel Capital, our focus is to seek out innovation and invest in its growth in support of Intel’s mission to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth.

That’s why we take special interest in the young entrepreneurs who have earned a spot to compete at the IGC. These finalists, who have won regional competitions or been nominated by a school affiliated with the global IGC network, present their work to judges including venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and other industry experts. To win one of the coveted prizes, they must demonstrate their venture has great potential for a positive impact on society through the commercialization of new and truly innovative technologies.

To date, many of the IGC winners and finalists have gone on to build successful businesses, not only because of the funds they secured as a result of their participation but also from the learning that resulted from their interaction with judges and other professionals at the event.

OsComp, a business from the Dominican Republic which took First Place at IGC in 2010, developed a system through which oil and gas could be pumped through a single pipeline for industrial use, resulting in cost savings, as well as less environmental impact. This year alone, the company generated revenues of USD 6 million, with expected revenues for 2013 to top USD 30 million.

Wormhole IT, a 2009 IGC finalist from Argentina, designed software to help professionals and businesses save time and money through Web-based meetings, conferences, and training. Today, the business is the most awarded web conference and online education platform provider in Latin America.

Speaktoit, a 2011 IGC semifinalist founded in Russia and one of our Intel Capital portfolio companies, created talking interfaces for computers and smartphones. Already, Speaktoit is working with engineers at Intel to pilot new products.

We at Intel and Intel Capital are proud to have played a role in the success of these ventures -and we look forward to seeing what innovations this year’s IGC finalists have to share.

Follow @Intelinvolved, @IGCHaas, and @IGCHaas2012 for updates on the competition. 
About the Author
Linda is passionate about sustainability and corporate responsibility. She manages communications for Intel's Public Affairs and Sustainability organization. She graduated from the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources with a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies.