Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crowdsourcing for Small Businesses

InnoCentive is an Andover, Mass.-based company best known for crafting challenges that let companies, known as seekers, pose a design or development problem to a community of 180,000 independent solvers, who vie for rewards of between $5,000 and $1 million if they crack the answer. The company once catered mainly to large corporations, but according to President and CEO Dwayne Spradlin, "we are beginning to work with smaller and earlier-stage companies." The company is also forming partnerships with venture capitalists who see these challenges as an inexpensive way for the companies in their portfolio to have more efficient R & D, according to Spradlin. This in turn means a lower risk for the VCs' investments. Over the next five months InnoCentive will be testing this expansion, dubbed InnoCentive for Start-ups, in Silicon Valley.
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