Qualcomm Ventures’ Kashyap Sees QPrize Drawing Better Entries, Especially Overseas

Qualcomm Ventures’ Nagraj Kashyap told me back in 2009 that the economic slowdown was a key factor when San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) decided to set aside $550,000 and to launch its first “QPrize” competition. Qualcomm designed the incentive prize to provide seed money to very early stage mobile technology startups.

When I sat down again with Kashyap again yesterday, he said the U.S. has largely recovered from the economic meltdown, but the same can’t be said for other regions in the world—particularly India and China. “There’s always a few organizations available [overseas] to provide seed funding,” he said, “but it’s not to the same level as in the United States, and I think a lot of technology companies are really struggling.”

As a result, Kashyap says the quality of applicants for the QPrize has really gone up in the second round, which officially started with the wireless company’s announcment last September during the Demo conference in San Jose, CA.

Kashyap, who is leaving in a few days for the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, says there also have been a few enhancements for applicants to the QPrize investment seed competition. Among them:

—Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which offers free software, development tools, and technical support to startup companies around the world, is reaching out to the recently announced finalists. As my colleague Greg Huang has reported previously in Seattle, Microsoft’s BizSpark was conceived with the goal of helping regional software economies—as well as getting … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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