SAN FRANCISCO, April 30 Cisco's corporate
venture-capital arm said it would deploy $150 million to
start-up companies over the next two to three years,
accelerating its investments into areas such as Internet-enabled
communication between objects.
That theme, also known as the Internet of Things, will
complement other Cisco investing themes such as big data and
connecting mobile devices, Cisco senior vice president for
corporate development Hilton Romanski told reporters Wednesday.
The amount, coupled with $100 million that Cisco said in
January it would deploy to start-ups in those areas, puts Cisco
Investments on par with mid-sized venture capital firms.
San Jose-based Cisco, known for networking equipment, also
announced two new investments in the Internet of Things. It took
part in a $7 million investment in Evrythng, a London-based
company that connects products to the Internet.
It also joined a $14.5 million funding round for Ayla
Networks, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that helps companies
monitor devices using the Internet.
The networking giant said it would increase its investment
in Alchemist Accelerator, a San Jose, Calif.-based incubator
for start-up companies, with a goal of supporting companies
working on the Internet of Things.
Critics of corporate venture investing say the company's
involvement can sometimes taint a start-up, for example, by
putting off competing companies from using the start-up's
products. But fans say the imprimatur from a big established
company helps start-ups build credibility.
(Reporting by Sarah McBride;Editing by Cynthia Osterman)