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There is No Limit to Innovation

There is no limit to innovation.  Cisco has embraced that idea for more than three decades with our build, buy, partner and integrate growth strategy.  Part of that strategy is investing in order to gain insights and drive new innovation.  True to that spirit, we have just announced the next evolution of the Cisco Investments[1] platform and a set of investments in support of an exciting new investment theme. These announcements build upon the foundation of our current $2 billion investment portfolio, which fuels innovations across many domains and geographies.

In addition to our primary strategic investment activity, we are also allocating $150 million in theme-based investments over the next three years to explore new, disruptive markets, including: big data/analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), connected mobility, advanced storage, silicon, content technology ecosystem, and India innovation. The $150 million in funding builds on our previously announced $100 million plan to invest in IoE-focused starts ups and funds.

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Cisco Supports Tech Entrepreneurs in Jordan

It is Sunday night in Amman, Jordan, and the Jordanian startup scene keeps moving full steam ahead at an event called Dealmakers Weekend, organized by Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports high-impact entrepreneurship and Int@j, a nonprofit representing the Jordan IT industry. The cream of the local startup crop were paired up all day in matchmaking sessions with local and international investors in hopes of creating lasting relationships.

One of the startups, Mixed Dimensions (MXD), is representative of the new breed of company emerging from the local ecosystem. Founded in 2009, MXD is a technology and tools provider for platform developers, gaming companies and interactive 3D online application developers. Its co-founders, Muhannad Taslaq and Baha Abu Nojaim, are examples of the diverse entrepreneurs Jordan is producing. Born and bred in Jordan and of Palestinian origin, they are graduates of Jordanian universities and active participants in promoting grassroots technology entrepreneurship in Jordan.

Unlike many startups in Jordan and the region overall, MXD’s vision extends far beyond its home country’s borders. Having begun its journey at the iPARK, an ICT incubator in Amman, MXD was from day one building technology targeted at a global audience. Its flagship product, a 3D asset development tool called GameDraw built for the Unity gaming engine, is used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries (as of January 2014). The company has expanded its global footprint, completing the Alchemist Accelerator program in Silicon Valley in August 2013 and venturing into new technology niches within 3D modeling and development.

MXD will become one of the first portfolio companies of the Badia Impact Fund, which announced its first close February 24 with Cisco (as part of our 2011 Venture Capital Commitment to Jordan), European Investment Bank, and King Abdullah Fund for Development.

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

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Cisco Investments Shape the Disruptions that will Define Tomorrow’s World

It’s impossible to predict the future, especially when it comes to the impact of technology on our lives.  This has been true since the time of the very earliest human inventions, and in the modern era, we no longer need decades and multiple generations to see these changes; they are immediate and have the power to transform single generations many times over.  Just consider how the personal computer, Internet, email, and mobile devices have changed our lives time and again. These innovations, taken alone, are extraordinary.  However, the power they have unlocked by coinciding in time and the profound consequences of connecting people, places, and things—Everything—makes the potential of the future both unpredictable and boundless.

The ability for any company to stay well ahead of disruptions—whether to defend their own markets or to expand into others—is extremely difficult.  And it is nearly impossible to do so consistently.  This is because the nature of the innovation, the context, time or market in which it lives, as well as its cost, all play a role in whether it takes seed and matures.  The better you can understand the factors that may make a lasting crop, the smarter you can be in choosing what field of soil to till, under what conditions to plant seeds and when the best time is to do either.  This really amounts to making the best and most educated bets you can.  In practical terms, these wagers can range from choosing the right customers to pursue to determining where you invest precious resources.

Some companies, including Cisco, have adopted robust build, buy and partner models to keep ahead of the market and inevitable disruptions that pose both threats to current market positions as well as offer powerful tools to enter into new markets.  For Cisco, having an additional lens to help see factors a little better in order to make smarter bets, has long been part of the Cisco Investments approach.  Putting capital to work through equity investments in start-ups and funds has helped to improve illusive visibility that can make the difference to catching critical market transitions—or missing them. Insights learned through equity investments into young and interesting companies on the bleeding edge of change helps Cisco gain valuable understanding of market trends, assess and develop better partnerships as well as strengthen relationships with other investors and partners that complement our M&A and organic development efforts.

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