Technology giant Cisco has announced LaunchPad, an open innovation initiative to accelerate startups and support growth in India’s developer community. Cisco® LaunchPad is designed to help startups, its authorised channel partners and developers scale their solutions, address new markets and build digital businesses. Cisco’s finest teams will mentor startups and developers on how to help create digital solutions to enable enterprise customers, service providers and other enablers in the public and private sphere to connect the next three billion people and 50 billion devices through digitisation, matching appealing ideas with business expertise and connecting engineering talent with investors and customers. Cisco will also provide a space at its Bengaluru campus with access to a suite of Cisco technologies and free grants to startups chosen to work at its campus.
Amit Phadnis, President-Engineering and India Site Leader, Cisco, said, “Imagine the innovation you will create when you provide global scale to the best ideas of the world’s youngest startup nation and second biggest developer community. We have an unprecedented opportunity to digitize the next three billion people in one-third the time it took to connect the first three billion. Through Cisco LaunchPad we want to unleash the next generation of disruptive ideas and help turn the entrepreneurs of today into the business leaders of tomorrow.”
Home to more technology startups than any other Indian city, Bengaluru offers a powerful combination of talent and infrastructure as well as business, academic, and research expertise. India is the youngest startup and developer nation in the world with 72 per cent of startup founders less than 35 years old and the average developer less than 29 years old. India is projected to have the world’s largest number of developers by 2018.
Cisco LaunchPad will involve a rigorous selection process based on the viability of applicants’ business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s digitization vision. Through LaunchPad, the startups will get an opportunity to work on solving business relevant problems by catering to use cases that are identified and validated by Cisco go-to-market teams. The target of such innovative solutions will be to help digitize the next three billion people, and will initially focus on manufacturing, retail, transportation, education and healthcare. The LaunchPad program will focus on the innovation and monetization opportunities in these industries and will help unlock new markets. The successful applicants will have unprecedented access to Cisco, the company’s channel partner ecosystem and select customers, and will offer startups a worldwide go-to-market engine to validate and scale innovative ideas.
As an example of the powerful innovation possible through Cisco LaunchPad, Cisco and Tech Mahindra Limited announced a collaboration to develop digital solutions for the Indian electric utilities. Cisco and Tech Mahindra will work with select startups and developers to accelerate digitization of the power sector and transform the way electricity is delivered to and used by people.
Ravichandran, President and COO, Tech Mahindra, said, “Digitization is disrupting every industry and that is especially true in the energy sector. We are working closely with Cisco to bring the power of digitization to millions of people. Cisco LaunchPad is an excellent platform for Tech Mahindra to help solve some of the complex emerging market problems like the energy management, healthcare access and intelligent manufacturing. We are also committed to the Digital India and Make in India initiatives taken up by the government of India.”
Underlying its commitment to digitization, Cisco already runs Cisco Digitization Acceleration and Cisco Investment programs in India. The Cisco LaunchPad initiative is the latest effort towards that commitment.