Friday, May 08, 2009

"Qualcomm Idol" -- A Capital Idea, Even Without Simon Cowell

Move over "American Idol", at least for budding entrepreneurs.

In this crazy economic, anyone out there trying to raise VC money knows how difficult (nearly impossible?) that is.  And, the financing waters hit especially hard for those trying to raise early stage capital.

Enter Qualcomm and its VC arm, Qualcomm Ventures.  The company just announced financing "contest" that takes a page from "American Idol."  Specifically, entrepreneurs from around the world submit business plans, and Qualcomm will select 4 semi-finalists -- one from each of the following regions: North America, Europe, China and India (which begs the question, entrepreneurs don't exist in the rest of the world?).  Each of these semi-finalists wins $150,000 for their ventures.  Then, CEOs from the 4 semi-finalists must stand before the Qualcomm judging committee and present their overall biz plan/vision in less than 5 minutes via an original song that they themselves penned!  (Okay, so everything I wrote up to that last sentence is true.)  Qualcomm then, in reality, selects one winner, and this company receives another $150,000.

Nice original idea -- nice way to bring visibility to Qualcomm's venture fund -- nice way to receive biz plan submissions.  The contest's deadline is July 9, and Qualcomm is specifically targeting the following industries:  digital media, semiconductors, software, health technologies, clean tech, communications devices and mobile platforms.

Television producers take note -- there's gotta be a place for Qualcomm's "American Idol" style contest on at least one of your scores of networks ... perhaps, TEC ("The Entrepreneur's Channel"?).