US networking major Cisco will be investing $100 million in India over the next 18 to 24 months to support and encourage the booming startup ecosystem. The series of investments will include $40 million that will be used to fund early-stage and growth-stage businesses, and train around 250,000 students by 2020.
For Cisco, India is a crucial market given that the government has set on an ambitious digitization plan under the 'Digital India’, 'Skill India’, and 'Startup India' schemes to convert governance to digital medium while telecom operators are rolling out high-speed internet networks on 3G and 4G communication technologies.
The focus on increasing connectivity means huge business for networking equipment and software provider such as Cisco. The investments also include opening six new innovation laboratories and three centres of expertise, apart from collaborating with universities and working for skill development.
After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Cisco’s executive chairman John Chambers said that "India is well positioned to lead in digitisation" adding that his company will collaborate closely with state governments on strategic initiatives.
Dinesh Malkani, president at Cisco India and SAARC, said the company has expertise in areas such as security, cloud, and the Internet of Things which it can lend to emerging companies. "There is a lot of scope for development in IP-driven technology software companies in India," he said.
After the announcement, Cisco chairman also urged the government to work on fixing its archaic laws, improve logistics and educate the regulators on the latest technological developments.
“You have to make changes,” Chambers said and added that most of the laws precede the years before technology companies such as Microsoft and Google came into existence.