InnoCentive, a place to solve research problems, gets boost

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InnoCentive,  a company that lets businesses post research problems for others to solve, has raised $6.5 million in a second round of venture capital.

Dwayne Spradlin is the CEO of the Waltham, Mass., spin-off from Eli Lilly.

Spradlin calls the site, where companies post problems and outsiders solve them in exchange for prizes, a “global innovation marketplace.”

Since 2001, InnoCentive’s “seekers” have been posting problems on its site to take advantage of crowdsourcing, or the collective intelligence of outside scientists and engineers, dubbed “solvers.” The solvers get rewards and the seekers find that they can get more work done than their internal R&D departments can handle. To date, the solvers have collected more than $3 million in rewards. InnoCentive now has 140,000 solvers for dozens of Fortune 500 companies.

The funding comes from Spencer Trask Ventures. Listen to audio post for more