Cisco’s John Chambers to invest $70 million in Indian startups

Cisco's John Chambers
John Chambers

While the Indian business ecosystem is discussing financial takeaways from PM Modi’s America visit, US-based networking giant Cisco’s executive chairman John Chambers has declared a fund of $70 million for Indian startups, revealed CNBCTV-18.

“We have committed over $70 million to the start-up engine in India. I would probably even some day personally invest in several others,” Chambers said. “That’s how much I believed in your country,” he added.

He said he aims to fulfill the basic requirements of startups in India – capital, talents, market and coaching.

The networking giant can help in bringing venture capital investors in India as it did in other countries such as France and Europe. In terms of talents, it will focus on network academy training to generate the jobs for the future. Startups need access to market which the company help in finding them. It can also provide start-ups an opportunity to move forward and then provide coaching on how they scale and how they think about markets differently.

The Silicon Valley company set up its second world headquarters – and the largest outside the US – in India in 1995.

On the sidelines of an event to mark Modi’s visit, Chambers said: “And where 3-4 years ago many countries were hesitant about investing in India and making a partnership and it being a two-way approach, today you do not see that at all.”

India’s bilateral trade with the US is valued at $100 billion, and the Cisco executive chairman lauded Modi for some of the schemes launched during his government, including GST, Digital India and demonetisation, saying: “I have been amazed at how much improvement he has made in ease of doing business and creating the right environment for it.”

“A big company may or may not add headcount over the next decade and the government may or may not, the engine of economic growth – whether it is 100 and 1.2 million people a month in India or in the US 200 to 250,000 – will be largely start-up driven,” Chambers said, revealing that every month he coaches around 30 CEOs of startups and meets with executives from 7,000 such companies.

Cisco, world leader in IT and networking, seems to be actively participant in developing the startup ecosystem in the country. Early June, Cisco, along with Kii Corporation of Japan, decided to establish Centres of Excellence (CoE) at International Institute of Digital Technologies (IIDT) in Tirupati.

The networking company will start a CoE on Internet of Things, cyber security and analytics on the new campus.

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