Cisco shells out big bucks to invest in Internet of Things companies

Cisco Internet of Things John Chambers
John Chambers, Cisco CEO

Cisco Investments has provided $150 million (about £88 million, or au$162 million) in financial backing to three Internet of Things (IoT) start-ups, the company said, in a statement. The investments comprise minority stakes in Alchemist Accelerator, Ayla Networks and EVRYTHNG.

Cisco Investments also said it has increased its investment to fund early-stage disruptive technology markets from $100 million to $250 million (about £148 million, or au$269 million). The corporate venture capital arm of Cisco will invest the sum over the next two to three years to fund companies focused on big data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), connected mobility, storage, silicon, content technology, and innovation in India.

In January, Cisco CEO John Chambers revealed the company’s thematic investing approach, which is designed to extend Cisco’s ability to be at the foreground of technological innovation.

The beneficiaries

Alchemist Accelerator focuses on helping enterprise-backed startups. The company recently announced it would partner with Cisco to launch an “accelerator” initiative designed to help IoT-focused startups raise capital.

Ayla Networks is an IoT technology platform provider that is focused on accelerating development, support, and ongoing enhancements of connected products.

EVRYTHNG is app developer focused on connecting products to the IoT. The company’s software-as-a-service platform connects products to the web in order to provide real-time tracking analytics and performance metrics.

The benefactor

Cisco has recently been an aggressive evangelist of IoT technology. In March, it said it would invest $1 billion (about £605 million, or au$1.1 billion) to build what it said would be the world's largest Intercloud network to tackle the Internet of Everything. The two-year investment is designed to help Cisco and its partners develop an open network of clouds with APIs for rapid application development to serve the enterprise market.

At Mobile World Congress in February, Cisco demoed heterogeneous access, elastic mobile networks, and experience-aware networks. Cisco also partnered with ATG to provide a system of analytics technologies to 30-50 cities worldwide to link public services and systems over a central network.

Last month, Cisco released a report projecting 50 billion things will be connected to the internet globally by 2020, creating a $19 trillion (around £11 trillion, or au$11.9 billion) ) opportunity for businesses around the world.