Three-and-a-half years ago, an informal brainstorming session among a few of us started a broader discussion on how we should co-innovate with the startup ecosystem, which eventually led to the creation of a new corporate venturing program for startups and scaleups – Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) – built on Cisco’s foundation of innovation and market opportunity. Since then, Cisco EIR has transformed the way we discover, co-create and scale disruptive technologies that are impacting our industry and customers worldwide.
Cisco EIR, at its core, solves the three fundamental challenges – the “ABC” – of startup-corporate partnerships: Agility, Business Model and Continuity. Our hyper-efficient platform to engage startups and scaleups ensures Cisco Business Units (BUs) and our Cisco EIR companies move at the same “startup speed.” We ensure a mutually beneficial, win-win business model – and we also ensure there is long-term continuity in our partnerships by investing in BU-level relationships rather than relationships based on particular individuals.
We have had a tremendous success since our journey began three Cisco EIR seasons ago. We have partnered with 27 companies to date, and over 80% of them are actively engaged in strategic initiatives with Cisco today. We have seen two Cisco acquisitions so far – ParStream, an IoT edge-computing company from Germany, and Pawaa, a file encryption company from India. Our companies have collectively raised over $50M in funding from VCs and non-Cisco strategic investors since they joined Cisco EIR. All in all, significant momentum.
On May 10, our Season 3 cohort of startups in Silicon Valley showcased their technologies, market traction and co-creation engagements with Cisco at our latest Demo Day – hosted by our friends at Fenwick & West. And, to be honest, I don’t know who was more excited, our companies or our Cisco EIR team.
At the Demo Day, Simularity, LISNR, Zoomdata, Tagnos and C3DNA presented to an audience of investors, analysts and Cisco executives. An expert panel – jointly led by Subu Subramanian (Cisco VP), Mark Leahy (Partner at Fenwick & West), Matt Bigge (Venture Partner at Crosslink Capital) and Christian Renaud (Research Director of IoT at 451 Research) – provided invaluable feedback and commentary throughout the presentations by our companies. I felt excited and inspired by the richness of the discussion we had and the breadth of participants from our ecosystem. I am more convinced than ever we have built something special – something which truly benefits the broader innovation ecosystem Cisco is a part of.
Our partnerships with the five companies will continue well beyond the six-month season they have just completed. I hope to see all of them engaging more strategically with Cisco and creating more value for our shared customers six months from now.
Our Newest Incoming Startups/Scaleups in Silicon Valley
Another highlight of the Demo Day was the addition of three new companies joining our program in Silicon Valley. I believe each of the companies represents a combination of high-caliber talent, strong business execution and a unique value proposition. I am thrilled to welcome them into Cisco EIR:
Nervana – Nervana provides a fast, scalable and easy-to-use cloud platform for deep learning built on top of state-of-the-art open source libraries. The company’s brain-inspired deep learning solution has applications in healthcare, agriculture, finance, energy, online services, the automotive industry and more.
Redox – Redox helps health systems manage their connections to cloud-based electronic heath record (EHR) platforms. The company’s API provides a two-way bridge enabling health systems to work with the largest ecosystem of integrated healthcare applications.
Unravel – Unravel provides Big Data Operation Intelligence through a full-stack performance intelligence platform that monitors and optimizes Big Data operations. The company’s platform goes beyond mere usage monitoring with intelligent alerts and automatic resolutions.
Announcing Cisco EIR London
While we continue to build on a track record of success in Silicon Valley, we know we cannot always assume all of the disruptive technologies will come from the region. Quite the contrary. Innovation ecosystems outside Silicon Valley are incubating a whole new generation of startups/scaleups with a unique regional and/or technology focus. One such ecosystem is London and the UK, which has led the region’s startup innovation, investment and exits in recent years with unique strengths in fintech, AI/deep learning and blockchain technologies. That’s why I am so excited to announce London as our next “regional hub” of Cisco EIR.
I am pleased to welcome three startups/scaleups to our inaugural Cisco EIR London cohort:
Guardtime – Guardtime’s technology takes a blockchain approach to cyber security that ensures the integrity of systems, networks and data at industrial scale.
TaDaweb – TaDaweb is the first “small data” platform designed to clone and amplify human intelligence for Web data. The company’s Web data intelligence platform currently empowers law enforcement, national security and defense customers to detect, locate, track and help combat criminal activity.
Warwick Analytics – Warwick Analytics provides predictive analytics for preventative and predictive maintenance for industrial applications. The company’s platform enhances the ability of businesses to deploy predictive analytics quickly and cost-effectively without the help of data scientists.
From our perspective, there has never been a better time to partner with today’s best and brightest early-stage entrepreneurs for the solutions of tomorrow. All of our new Cisco EIR companies are at the cutting edge of IoE/IoT, AI/deep learning, cloud, security and other areas strategic to Cisco’s future. I cannot wait to see the truly disruptive solutions these six new additions to our program will bring to Cisco and our customers worldwide.