Internet companies are finding a friend in IBM. Big Blue set aside a $500 million global fund to support fast-growing business-to-business Internet companies. IBM Global Financing, the technology giant's IT financing arm, is teaming with select venture capital firms to provide financing for IBM hardware, software and services to emerging so-called "Net Generation" companies. A spokeswoman, however, would not name specific companies, but did say the firm was developing global relationships with venture capital firms and working with them to identify the companies. As of late February, IBM had already begun to work with the Internet Capital Group and Vantage Point Venture Partners, two firms that specialize in developing Internet companies.
IBM will offer two programs to Internet start ups: Rent-to-Own will be offered to a fledgling company that can own up to $250,000 in IBM hardware and software if they rent for up to 30 months. At the end of 15 months, they can either opt out of the equipment entirely, upgrade or continue renting. At 30 months, they own the equipment outright. The second deal is a leasing and financing option totaling up to $5 million for IBM hardware, software and services. In the aggregate, IBM has more than $1 billion committed to Net Generation companies, including outright acquisitions of start-up ventures that fill a specific business need. Through its incubator program, qualified 'Net start ups can obtain technology and services valued at about $1 million at no cost for six months.
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