I recently ran into Drew Clark, head of IBM's Venture Capital Group, based in Menlo Park, California. I asked him about the financial crisis and what IBM could do in response. "We would never make an equity investment but we are looking at financial help in projects where we partner with other companies," he said.
IBM has a large financial services group and it has the capital to help finance IT enterprise projects.
The IBM VC group does not invest in companies but it meets with VCs and startups to tell them about the technologies and products that it finds interesting. IBM makes several billion dollars worth of acquisitions every year but no investments are made because it doesn't want to sit on boards and manage small companies.
Mr Clark said that IBM partners with many companies in building large IT enterprise projects all around the world. If its partner companies are struggling getting financing and that might hurt a project, IBM would step in and provide financing for the "solution."
Foremski's Take: Companies in all markets are complaining that they can't get short-term credit to cover operating costs. Although IBM's financial muscle will be welcomed in bankrolling a specific IT solution, it might not be enough. IBM might be forced to offer loans to help partner companies survive and come through the global financial crisis.
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Please see: How IBM Venture Capital Group succeeds without any venture capital