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Cisco Ups Investments in IoT, Big Data Startups

The $150 million investment plan is on top of the $100 million effort announced by Cisco earlier this year.

Cisco Systems is increasing the amount of money it will invest in startups focusing on the Internet of things and other key trends in the tech industry.

Cisco Investments already has a $2 billion portfolio and in January announced a $100 million effort to invest in startups involved in the Internet of everything, a concept from Cisco that officials have said includes the Internet of things (IoT). Now the giant networking vendor is putting another $150 million on top of that, targeting early-stage companies in such fields as the IoT, big data, analytics, connected mobility, storage and innovation in India.

In addition, Cisco Investments has invested in three IoT startups—Alchemist Accelerator, Ayla Networks and Evrything.

The investments are part of the company's larger efforts to find startups with interesting ideas in key areas and not only invest money in them, but also expertise and resources, such as Cisco's technology, executives, partners and customers.

"There is no limit to innovation," Hilton Romanski, senior vice president of corporate development at Cisco, said in a post on the company blog. "Cisco has embraced that idea for more than three decades with our build, buy, partner and integrate growth strategy. Part of that strategy is investing in order to gain insights and drive new innovation.

"If you are a startup with a great idea, you're probably looking for capital and you're looking for help. And as a practical matter, if you really believe in the value of your idea, you want to get both of those things from your investors, not just one or the other. We completely understand these goals and our approach reflects a focus on adding (and gaining) strategic and business value."

CEO John Chambers and other company executives have said the Internet of everything represents the largest transition in the tech industry since the Internet, and the vendor is pouring a lot of money and effort into making its technology a foundation of it. According to Cisco, by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices—from notebooks, tablets and smartphones to appliances, automobiles and manufacturing systems—making up the IoT. It's the connection of those, along with people and applications, that will make up the Internet of everything, according to Cisco.

The network will be a key to keeping these systems connected and moving data around the IoT.

Cisco executives have said the Internet of everything will be worth $19 trillion to businesses by 2020. IDC analysts said in February that the IoT market will hit $7.3 trillion by 2017.