US-headquartered network equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems is looking to launch a second India-focussed technology fund. To that end, the company is searching for collaborations with VCs and investments in promising tech startups in the country.
As per reports, the technology conglomerate is also evaluating potential acquisitions in this space.
Commenting on the development, Sameer Garde, President of Cisco India and Saarc said, “We can offer multiple avenues to startups like engineering support, customer access and business strategy inputs.”
“If they have a very strong alignment with some of the areas with technology point of view or from a customer support segment that they are targeting, then we even look at investing in them and getting them on board, like we have done with a couple of startups in India,” he added.
The development just over a month after Cisco invested an undisclosed amount in Bengaluru-based Stellaris Venture Partners. As part of the deal, the tech became a Limited Partner (LP) for Stellaris’ first fund.
Garde further stated, “We have also started looking at not only direct investments in startups, but we are also working with VCs. We have invested in Stellaris Venture Partners (in January) and we are in the process of investing in another one.”
According to him, while Stellaris is making B2B investments in companies working on India-specific solutions, Cisco’s new technology fund will focus on B2B SaaS and other areas like security, collaboration and SDN.
Claiming that Cisco has a “solution-plus partner” model, Garde said that the company would first be investing in tech startups. Solutions developed by these companies might also be integrated into Cisco’s offerings. Finally, the tech giant could even acquire the firms and market their solutions as a Cisco product.
How Cisco Is Helping Startups Grow In India
The company had earlier earmarked a corpus of $280 Mn towards investments in Indian startups. So far, Cisco has invested in more than 25 startups directly or indirectly.
In December 2017, it acquired Cmpute.io, months after buying AppDynamics from Jyoti Bansal for $3.7 Bn ahead of its IPO. Earlier in October 2015, Cisco made its first Indian acquisition of Bengaluru-based Pawaa Software.
In February last year, Cisco LaunchPad also invited India-based tech startups focussed on the B2B/B2B2C segments to apply for its second cohort.
The startup accelerator was launched in July 2016 to bring together Cisco, startups, and the developer community to deliver business relevant end-to-end digital solutions.
With a business target of $2 Bn in India, Cisco’s revenue growth in India currently ranges between 14%-15%, compared to the global range of 0%-2%, claimed Garde. How the launch of the new technology fund helps cement its presence in the Indian startup ecosystem remains to be seen.