QPrize™ is Qualcomm Ventures’ seed investment competition. It’s designed to provide entrepreneurs their first level of funding so they can launch their idea into a successful start-up business. We look for bright, energetic and resourceful entrepreneurs who have a passion for bringing new technologies and services to market. Our goal is to have QPrize act as a catalyst for our winners, providing the initial capital to launch their great ideas and support the company to its first institutional funding round. Applications for QPrize 2015 are now closed, and regional competitions are taking place. Stay tuned to find out the winners. The Grand Finals winner will be announced on September 9 at our annual CEO Summit event.
QPrize: From Inception to Now
The Greatest Prize is Bringing Your Idea to Light
Since 2009, QPrize has encountered ideas and founders that have surprised, impressed and consistently pushed us to rethink what is possible through technology. Teams from all over the globe, and encompassing dozens of industry verticals, have gone on to achieve success after receiving an initial boost through QPrize. Past QPrize winners have gone on to raise a total of $239M. Here are a few of their success stories:
Israeli company iOnRoad uses the power of advanced smartphones to improve driving in real time. In 2013, iOnRoad won the QPrize Israel regional competition and then went on to become the year’s QPrize Grand Prize Winner. With over a million users at the time and multiple industry awards, iOnRoad was poised for an exciting future. That future came less than a month after winning QPrize when Harman, an audio and infotainment equipment provider, acquired the company for an undisclosed amount. This was the fastest acquisition in QPrize’s history and today it’s apparent that many of the QPrize winners generate significant interest from VC’s and would-be acquires after completing the competition.
Divide, formerly known as Enterproid, is a mobile productivity app that allows users to access a single device for both business and personal purposes. New York-based Divide originally approached Qualcomm Ventures for a traditional Seed investment in 2010. The timing wasn’t quite right, but they were strongly encouraged to enter QPrize. The company applied for the 2011 program and not only won the North American competition, but also the Grand Prize competition which enabled them to secure a total of $250K in convertible notes. This accomplishment helped catalyze multiple rounds of funding that ultimately led to their acquisition for more than $100M in 2014.
Clarifai is a startup dedicated to the development of next-generation artificial intelligence technology. Originally a research project out of New York University, the company’s deep learning approach has resulted in a technology as a service that can rapidly analyze media content and recognize over 10,000 different objects or types of scene. What sets Clarifai apart is its ability to analyze video content – most research and initiatives in the field of deep learning are still focused on static imagery. New York City based Clarifai was a leading contender in the 2014 QPrize competition and although they didn’t actually win, they scored a direct investment from Qualcomm Ventures, who immediately saw the high potential in both the quality of the team and their technology. Clarifai became a part of the Qualcomm Ventures portfolio soon thereafter.
Founded in 2012 in China, Cambridge Wowo creates software that uses voice evaluation and speech recognition to provide digital and interactive solutions to pre-school content developers. After partnering with two of China’s largest textbook producers and converting over 400,000 users, Cambridge Wowo went on to win the 2014 QPrize China competition. The company is not only part of a growing industry vertical (mobile education), but also part of the world’s fastest growing economy and one in which Qualcomm is increasing its strategic investments. Qualcomm, an active investor in China for more than 10 years, recently funded the company further through its $150M China Fund.
Capillary Technologies, a company originating out of Bangalore, India, provides cloud-based software solutions for retailers. After winning QPrize India in 2009, Capillary began to focus on expansion in developed countries, a strategy known as reverse innovation. The move soon gained traction as retailers in Europe and the US embraced Capillary’s cutting-edge “Big Data” solution as well as its simplicity and cost efficiency. In 2013, Capillary was featured in a Harvard Business Review case study as a prime example of reverse innovation in the high tech industry. Capillary now powers more than 10,000 stores globally for over 140 brands, including Nokia, Puma, Marks & Spencer and Pizza Hut.
As Technology Evolves, So Does QPrize.
Each year, QPrize serves as a showcase for exciting innovations in the world of technology. With representation across an ever-growing range of fields, QPrize is where you see creativity and entrepreneurship at its finest.
Consumer Apps & Services
With millions of apps and services on the market, this field is still growing rapidly as new developments emerge that create efficiencies and further integrate into people’s lives. From productivity to networking and entertainment, this is the new mode of computing.
2014 showed an increasing focus on personal health technologies. With the advent of “wearables” and new ways of gathering and displaying physical data, people will have increasing control and knowledge over their own health metrics.
Robotics & Drones
Robots and autonomous systems are starting to make their way out of the lab and factory and into our everyday lives. As mobility, sensor and vision systems increase in intelligence and capabilities, this industry is poised for unprecedented growth.
Media & Advertising
The world has an unquenchable appetite for media of all types. As new opportunities emerge in this space for technical innovation, new advertising models and commercial profit, Qualcomm’s status as a leader in mobile put it at the forefront of the industry.
Enterprise-level software continues to make organizations more nimble and efficient. Consumerization of the enterprise and SaaS models have proven to be the future for most online commercial services.
Internet Of Things
We are moving towards a world of seamless connectivity where everything you interact with can be a connected device. This is a fascinating area that has the potential to add utility and enrichment to our everyday lives.