Cisco Investments: Discovering New Partnerships for our Startups
 

Author: Hitesh Saijpal

People often ask me what I mean when I say that Cisco Investments is a strategic venture capital firm. To me, it means that we invest for both strategic and financial reasons – it’s about more than the rate of return. We look for opportunities to help our portfolio companies grow through access and collaboration with Cisco’s vast network of partners and customers.

This year we began a new initiative to introduce our portfolio companies to our top channel partners. Last week, I was in San Francisco with Dimension Data to co-host an event with several of our portfolio companies. This event was a first for Cisco Investments and my team – a chance to introduce some of our innovative portfolio company CEOs to the senior leadership of one of our largest technology distributors.

Dimension Data is a key channel partner for Cisco globally; together, we work with over 75 companies on the Fortune 100. During our afternoon meeting, we introduced them to several startups in dynamic markets like collaboration and security. Among the portfolio companies present were Verodin, a cybersecurity management platform that helps customers assess, actively gauge and continuously monitor an enterprise’s current security posture and incident response readiness, Flashpoint, a cybersecurity company that works in the Deep and Dark Web to help customers understand and prevent attacks, and Helpshift, a mobile software company with technology to enable enterprises to provide best-in-class customer service directly inside of their mobile apps. Each company presented about what they do, what they’re hearing from customers and what’s next for them.

Our afternoon was a resounding success. Everyone at the table was engaged, asking questions and identifying multiple opportunities to work more closely together. Dimension Data gained exposure to the latest innovations in these growing markets. Our portfolio companies received valuable go-to-market advice and validation on their strategy for approaching partners and customers. We discussed ideas for joint development and how to create a differentiated offer based on what customers are asking for. By the end of the meeting, we all agreed that this was just the beginning, as we look for deeper and additional opportunities to engage between our portfolio companies and Dimension Data.

This event will be the first of many. At Cisco Investments, our goal is to be a top strategic VC. We will continue to innovate through our investment portfolio and drive value between our startups and Cisco’s channel partners and customers. I can’t wait to share more on some of the other exciting events we have coming up. Stay tuned!

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