By Hideaki Yajima, Manager
On November 14th, Cisco hosted a networking event “Introduction of Cisco Investments” at Midtown Conference, Tokyo. During the networking event, Cisco announced the official launch of Cisco Investments in Japan and introduced Cisco’s first investment executive in Japan, who joined in July.
Cisco Investments consists of approximately 50 employees globally, and carries out investment activities in line with Cisco’s business strategy.
“Cisco Investments, the corporate venture capital arm of Cisco, currently has a portfolio valued at USD$2 billion and approximately USD$310in total allocated to next horizon “themes” to accelerate the development of disruptive technology markets including: big data and analytics; the Internet of Things (IoT); connected mobility; storage; silicon; the content technology ecosystem; India innovation; China innovation and Israel Innovation,” said Hideaki Yajima, senior manager, Cisco Corporate Development.
Senior Manager, Cisco Corporate Development
“I joined Cisco in July to lead new corporate development activities in Japan. We have recently closed our first venture investment in Japan since 2001, and will actively seek investment opportunities in our focus areas such as IoE, Cloud and SP Mobility. We look forward to co-investments opportunities with Japanese VCs and CVCs,” Yajima added.
Senior Manager, Cisco IoE Innovation Center
Toshihiro Imai, senior manager Cisco IoE Innovation Center discussed collaboration efforts with smart-FOA, Cisco Investments’ first venture portfolio company in Japan: “Smart-FOA provides an innovative information sharing platform for real-time decision-making and problem solving by creating pieces of data (information strips) that combine raw data collected by sensors in the manufacturing workplace with workplace know-how, and letting these flow on the network. Its IoT technology is a perfect fit with Cisco iOX architecture, and we look forward to growing solutions together.”
The panel discussion, moderated by Hideaki Yajima, included topics about corporate investments in Japan with key executives from Intel Capital, JAFCO, NTT Data and Fujitsu Research Institute.
Investment Director, Intel Capital Japan
Ken Asada, Investment Director at Intel Capital Japan said “The role of Intel Capital is of course to accelerate Intel’s business globally. As an investment executive in Japan, I would like to focus on areas with Japanese technological excellence, such as robotics.”
Group Leader, Investment Division, JAFCO
Haruyoshi Onuma, Group Leader of Investment Division at JAFCO said “For start-up companies, investments from corporate venture capital (CVC) generally have both positive and negative effects. However, in smart-FOA’s case in which we co-invested with Cisco, we highly value Cisco’s commitment in the business collaboration and the co-development of products.”
Head of Open Innovation and Business Emergence
Kotaro Zanma, Head of Open Innovation and Business Emergence at NTT Data said “NTT Data has recently started open innovation activities to enable Win-Win-Win among start-ups, NTT Data and our customers. I would love to change the world in collaboration with talented people in the start-up community.”
Senior Research FellowFujitsu Research Institute
Ko Yukawa, Senior Research Fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute said “U.S. CVCs have been very active in the past decades, but in Japan it has not been until recently. I believe it was mainly due to Japanese large enterprises’ attitude against venture investments. I sense it is gradually changing, and hope this change continues.”
The attendees continued enthusiastic discussion about Japanese start-up communities in the future during the networking portion before the event came to a successful close.