I recently wrote about how we are extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) and our open innovation strategy beyond Silicon Valley through local incubation partners in Chicago, San Diego and Berkeley. Our presence in these innovation hubs will enable us to discover, influence and learn from new ideas and talent at early-stage startups with potential to disrupt our industry.
Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of Cisco EIR Europe, extending our program to a non-U.S. innovation hub for the first time. Cisco EIR will be located initially in Vienna, where we plan to launch a small cohort of early-stage European startups by January 2015 – to be supported & incubated by Cisco – drawn from across EMEAR. As with Cisco EIR in Silicon Valley, we will look for game-changing entrepreneurs in IoE, security, Big Data/analytics, Smart Cities & other transformational opportunities that are in Cisco’s strategic line of sight. Also as in our Silicon Valley program, the startups will be supported by Cisco engineering & product teams as well as our EMEAR partner ecosystem. The Vienna-based program is intended to serve as the beachhead – our “Phase 1” – for a broader EU-wide footprint for Cisco EIR.
Key to our success is how we leverage the startup ecosystem that already exists in Europe. To this end, starting in Vienna, we have partnered with Pioneers, a leading startup community organization in Europe. More partnerships are in the works.
I know all of you will agree innovation knows no national boundaries. Europe, with its deep entrepreneurial talent, large market and history of innovation, presents a unique opportunity for us. Europe is also one of the key regions for our Smart Cities – as you saw from our recent announcement of a new Smart Cities initiative in Copenhagen, following similar projects in Barcelona, Amsterdam Chicago and Hamburg.
We are thrilled to forge relationships in the European startup community – and support entrepreneurs as partners in open innovation.