The final sprint is on to the finish line spotlighting the world’s most disruptive digital innovators for industry.

It is my distinct honor to announce the six finalists of this year’s Innovation Grand Challenge. These six superstar startups rose to the top of aInnovation Grand Challenge_Ski Solution competition launched last May at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, attracting more than 5,500 participants from 150 countries that spanned every continent except Antarctica.

They are all digital trailblazers with the best potential to shake up private and public market sectors by harnessing the power of Cisco’s digital platform.

The finalists are:

  • CloudMedx, United States: AI platform simplifies, scales and automates delivery of healthcare apps to care providers for better treatment.
  • Dedrone, United States: Automated, 3D aerial security platform identifies unauthorized drones, protecting critical installations.
  • Gestoos, Spain: Artificial intelligence for cameras that can see people’s movement and understand their behavior.
  • L7 Defense, Israel: Self- and machine-learning intelligence platform lessens DDoS attacks with little user interference.
  • ProGlove, Germany: Smart, wearable gloves link workers to digitized systems, improving speed, quality and data.
  • Streamroot, France, Centralized video optimization network improves speed, quality of service, and global reach.

This is an impressive array of inter-connected and networked technologies in both the public and private sectors.

These finalists now move on to the live competition Nov. 9 at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. There, they will pitch their ventures to a panel of prominent industry experts, who will declare three winners and award a total of $250,000 in cash plus world class, co-innovation support and opportunities. Judges will score each idea on its potential to expand new markets, compatibility with Cisco’s technology and business objectives, creative differentiation, and caliber of their talent to go to market.

Web SummitWith just two weeks to go, the finalists will fine-tune their solutions, sharpen their value propositions, hone their messages, rehearse their pitches and respond to written questions from judges. We will provide them with travel arrangements to the Web Summit, an ideal venue for such a global event where 50,000 attendees from Fortune 500 companies and aspiring startups converge.

Our own John Chambers, Chairman of the Board, is keynoting, “Every country will be digital” on the center stage, Nov. 8, 11:20a.m.

We must recognize that innovation doesn’t happen on its own! We especially appreciate and value our partnership with TTTech to help run this challenge, and to co-host the finals at the Web Summit.

Also, narrowing such a large field of entrepreneurial ingenuity has been no easy job. About 100 Cisco leaders volunteered to pore over the thousands of entries, analyze them against our criteria, whittle them to 15 semifinalists, and now down to six finalists. There are too many to name, but I cannot thank all of you enough for your time, diligence and dedication in this important process.

I also want to tip my hat to all those who have participated in our Innovation Grand Challenges. We consider all of you winners—today’s and tomorrow’s emerging game-changers. You are true pioneers whose brilliant ideas, business acumen, and technology know-how are vastly improving the quality of life in society and business. I hope you keep coming back year after year.

It’s hard to believe that we are in the third year of the Innovation Grand Challenge and nearing the winner’s circle once again. The speed and growth of innovation is breathtaking these days. We have nearly doubled participation each year, and this challenge has already attracted 57.5 million impressions on social media platforms. Clearly, there’s never been a better time to innovate.

The digital revolution, powered by the Internet of Things, is opening vast opportunities in every industry sector. We know that innovation can come from anywhere, and companies—no matter their size or success—can’t innovate alone. That is why we search the world over to discover new talent, co-innovate and collaborate for everyone’s success.

Stay tuned for my update in a couple of weeks when we culminate this year’s Innovation Grand Challenge by declaring the three winners in Lisbon. My heartfelt best wishes to all the finalists!






Alex Goryachev

Senior Director, Innovation Strategy & Programs

Corporate Strategic Innovation Group