I’m incredibly excited to announce that Cisco and Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR), our corporate venturing program, just took first place in Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars. UK innovation foundation Nesta and the Startup Europe Partnership organized this prestigious ranking.

The award recognizes the successful contributions of large corporations working within the startup/scaleup ecosystem as partners for co-creation and investments. We received the good news on June 9th when it was announced at the Startup Europe Summit in Berlin. You can read the press release here and listen to my interview with Monocle Magazine to learn more.

The judges for the ranking were a “who’s who” lineup of startup ecosystem leaders and influencers from across Europe. They included:

  • Sherry Coutu (author of The Scale-up Report and angel investor)
  • Alberto Onetti (Chairman of Mind the Bridge)
  • Dolf Wittkamper (Head of EIT Digital’s Accelerator)
  • Candace Johnson (entrepreneur behind SES, Loral Teleport Europe and Europe Online)

Other companies recognized in the ranking were Unilever, Telefonica, Virgin, Microsoft, and BMW.

In comments given in a Forbes piece about the ranking, Alberto Onetti praised Cisco for being “really active in the European startup ecosystem at various levels.” He also noted that the recently launched Cisco EIR program in London “is very well designed to build long-term strategic relations between Cisco business units and early stage companies.” He concluded that he and the other judges “expect concrete results out of [Cisco EIR] in terms both of commercial partnerships and acquisitions.”

I’m delighted by the recognition Cisco is receiving for our work with startups around the world and our open innovation initiatives. With this award, we’re seeing Cisco EIR specifically held up as a successful model for how large corporations can engage the startup/scaleup ecosystem.

Cisco EIR is one of multiple ways Cisco is engaging with startups. For example, Cisco’s corporate venture capital arm, Cisco Investments, manages a portfolio of more than 100 active startups valued at over $2B. Recent investments in Europe include AdBrain and Startupbootcamp.

Our No. 1 ranking comes on top of significant momentum for Cisco and Cisco EIR. In my last blog post, I shared several recent milestones. We had another successful demo day in Silicon Valley last month. We launched a new Cisco EIR program in London. We now have 33 companies in Cisco EIR’s global network, more than 30 active strategic engagements with Cisco business units and two Cisco acquisitions under our belt. Plus, more than $50M raised by our companies collectively since they joined our program.

With Cisco EIR firmly in place in London—and with our “Corporate Startup Star” award in hand—we’re committed to helping to lead the next phase of growth in Europe’s startup/scaleup ecosystem.  We continue to see leading-edge technology and high-caliber entrepreneurs in the region driving significant market transitions in the Internet of Things, AI/deep learning, security, and other areas strategic to Cisco. Expect more exciting news from Cisco EIR in the coming months.

Photo Credit: Ralf Rühmeier



Tom Yoritaka

Global Managing Director

Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence