Upbeat on the rapidly evolving entrepreneurial environment in the country, Cisco has created a USD 40 million (over Rs 240 crore) fund, a first by the networking solutions giant in any of its present geographies.
The US-based firm's USD 2 billion venture capital arm, Cisco Investments, today said it will invest USD 40 million over the next 12-18 months to fund early-stage firms in India with a focus on products and technologies relevant to emerging markets.
Earlier this year, Cisco had announced an allocation of USD 250 million towards tapping next generation technologies and the India fund is a part of this initiative.
Under its India Innovation theme, Cisco will focus on start ups working on including big data & analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), connected mobility, storage, silicon, content technology ecosystem among others.
Cisco also announced its first investment under this theme in Covacsis, a Mumbai-based real-time analytics platform software provider catering to manufacturing production floors.
"The start up ecosystem in India has really come up ion a big way. There is a large talent pool, which is now focusing on starting their own firms as well as there has been a growing acceptance for entrepreneurship," Cisco President Sales (India and SAARC) Dinesh Malkani said in a concall.
Besides, the new government is also concentrating on the agenda of a technology driven governance, he added.
Cisco Managing Director, Corporate Development (APJ) Joydeep Bose said the fund will focus on early stage companies with products offering either cost optimised designs, industry vertical solutions or application of cloud.
"This underscores our commitment to India, as it is the only geography to have such a fund covering next generation products and technologies," he added.
Investments will range from USD 500,000 to anywhere up to USD 12 million, Bose said adding "The amount can exceed USD 40 million depending upon the opportunities present."
In the last 7-10 years, Cisco has invested in about 15 companies in India including Mobstack, Qyuki, Apalya, Comviva and Indiagames.
"While we will directly invest in early-stage companies, we will also look at partnering angel networks, accelerators and incubators," Bose added.
Besides contributing capital to these firm's, Cisco also helps accelerate their development by connecting them to expertise and resources such as Cisco IT, its business leaders and network of partners and customers through major industry events, like the annual Cisco Live, he said.
The move will help the company strengthen its product portfolio as it aims to increase its India revenues to five per cent in the next five years.
Cisco has over 10,000 employees in India and the company gets about two per cent of its over USD 48 billion global revenues from the country.