Cisco invests $1B in Russia

Looks to spur entrepreneurship, build tech prowess

Cisco is investing $1 billion over 10 years in Russia to spur innovation and entrepreneurship. The investment will be made in five parallel phases and includes Cisco establishing a presence in Skolkovo, a region Russia has targeted for transformation into a technology and innovation hub.

The first phase includes investment in the venture capital community and a commitment to increase the number of Cisco Networking Academies in Russia to 300, from 133. Cisco is currently working with Russian venture firm Almaz Capital Partners.

The second phase involves establishing a physical presence in Skolkovo and establishing it as Russia's first Smart+Connected Community for sustainable environmental, economic and social development.

Under phase three, Cisco intends to establish its second worldwide headquarters for its Emerging Technologies group in Skolkovo. The first is in Bangalore, India. Cisco engineers will locate there and incubate several internal start-up companies to develop products and technologies for new markets.

Phase four will focus on collaborative go-to-market models between start-ups and the venture capital community. Cisco will launch its I-Prize innovation competition in Russia to stimulate ideas that might become Cisco's next billion dollar business. Total prize money to be offered under I-Prize is $175,000.

The fifth phase will involve Cisco partnering with existing Russian businesses, venture capital firms and other technology companies to address opportunities in smart grid, financial services, service providers, financing, broadband implementation and social networking. Cisco will then extend its physical presence in Skolkovo virtually throughout Russia in an effort to replicate the Smart+Connected progress it's made there.

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