Cisco LaunchPad completes half a decade with seven startups graduating from its Cohort of 2021

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Cisco LaunchPad was launched in 2016 with the objective of helping the startup community scale greater heights. Over the years, the programme has accelerated 54 cutting-edge startups, seven successful cohorts, 35 startup POC/tech integration, $206 million overall funding, 90 percent follow-on funding, three exits, eight solution partners and created 1700+ jobs in the last five years.

This year, the program received 600+ applications, out of which seven high-impact startups have made it to the Cohort of 2021. They are Smart Ship Hub, LetzConnect, LetsVing, SeaShore Networks, Sensforth.ai, Tranzmeo and Sensegrass.

A virtual Showcase Day was held on September 16, 2021, as a LinkedIn Live exclusive, that garnered 3500+ views. At the event, the startups got a chance to pitch their solutions to eminent industry leaders, investors, ecosystem enablers and innovators.

A partnership to explore mutual synergies

The core focus areas of Cisco LaunchPad are enterprise tech, IoT and digitalisation, and futuristic tech, with emphasis on 12 industry verticals - healthcare, retail, agri, manufacturing and warehousing, surveillance and asset tracking, transportation, security, collaboration, emerging tech, edtech, enterprise tech, energy and utilities.

Over the years, the programme has helped in establishing various frameworks of opportunities for all stakeholders using a host of vehicles. Besides getting access to world-class mentorship, investor and partner networks, the startups get exposure to a wide gamut of Cisco technologies and use case validations. Also, reciprocally, Cisco gets the opportunity to explore mutual synergies to pioneer digital transformation, integrate their technology and go to market with innovative startups. Through its partnership with industry bodies like TiE Bangalore and programme partner Zinnov, Cisco LaunchPad further bolsters the impact of startups’ tech innovation while creating values for every stakeholder involved.

Platform to showcase groundbreaking solutions

Delivering the welcome address at the virtual Showcase Day, Pradeep Kathail, CTO, Enterprise Networking, Cisco Systems said, "A startup is like a child, it takes an entire village or ecosystem to nurture them towards success. That's exactly what Cisco LaunchPad facilitates - a 360-degree ecosystem, which involves mentoring, investor and customer connect, and so on."

He added that in the last 18 months, the programme had two key priorities - delivering mentoring and support to member startups virtually and enabling these startups to use Cisco's technology to help others who have been impacted by the pandemic.

Irving Tan, Chairman, APJC, Cisco Systems, delivering the keynote, said, "In today's world, business model innovation, combined with the use of technology is really driving disruption in the business world. In India, the LaunchPad programme has helped foster a deep Indian tech ecosystem that's very much aligned with the agenda of the Government of India."

The voice of Cisco LaunchPad champions

Cisco LaunchPad has been standing on the shoulders of 90+ seasoned global mentors who have worked with the startups to put their best foot forward.

A mentor, Sarvanan N G, Leader, Solution Assurance & Engineering, Cisco Contact Center BU, Cisco Systems Inc said, "Cisco LaunchPad is all about bringing a new challenge or a new product into the Cisco family and creating solutions to meet customer requirements. We're always keen to work with creative and viable startups."

Fabrizio Reggioli, Technical Marketing Manager, Mobility & Cables, Cisco Systems Inc, also a mentor, added, " As 5G networks grow worldwide both in service provider and enterprise market, we are always open to expand our partner ecosystem, work with startups, evaluate our mutual interoperability level in order to support Cisco's businesses end-to-end."

Future outlook: Connectivity and expansion

The Cisco LaunchPad team believes that all stakeholders need to rely on each other to build a vibrant ecosystem. It is offering a new platform called STEP (Startup Engagement Portal), where startups, partners and mentors can connect and support each other.

With the programme's success in India, it is looking to expand to other parts of Asia to catalyse the innovative ideas that exist within the region. In the next few weeks, it is also launching the Technopreneurship initiative, in partnership with every Indian state's innovation ecosystem.

Closing the event, Sruthi Kannan, Head, Cisco LaunchPad said, "Today we're at the epicentre of infinite possibilities, harnessing the power of technology to touch human lives. We have not only instrumented 90 percent follow-on funding for our startups, but also helped them grow multifold. We endeavour to continue this engagement throughout their lifecycle."

Applications for Cisco LaunchPad Cohort 2022 are now open. Register Here.

To know more about Cisco LaunchPad, grab a copy of the handbook here.


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