Cisco has revealed plans to open a tech incubator in London within the next year, marking the company’s second innovation hub of this kind in Europe.
The incubator, known as the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) innovation programme, launched in Silicon Valley two years ago before expanding to Chicago, San Diego and Boston in the US, as well as Vienna in Europe.
“We’re looking at London as another hub in Europe,” said Thomas Yoritaka, head of Cisco’s EIR programme, in Vienna yesterday, adding that it should be confirmed at some point this summer.
London is an ideal city for the networking giant to access the European tech scene because it has a well established ecosystem already in place, said Yoritaka, pointing to the presence of venture capitalists, marketing experts, lawyers, media and analysts.
It’s likely that the London version of Cisco’s EIR programme will be open to startups across Europe, just as the Vienna branch is.
It’s also possible that Cisco will look to partner with existing London incubators or accelerators such as Techstars and Seedcamp in the same way that it has with its US outposts.
Cisco’s Vienna incubator is set to announce its second cohort of 5-10 startups today at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna after judges listened to startup pitches yesterday afternoon.
Yoritaka said he also wants to look at expanding the EIR programme to Tel Aviv, Israel, and Bangalore, India.
Through the six-month EIR programme, Cisco gets direct access to new technologies being developed by people that are free-thinking entrepreneurs that don’t carry the shackles of those trying to innovate in large corporates.
Like other accelerators, Cisco provides startups with funding, desk space and mentoring, in addition to free access to some of its products. At the end of the programme, Cisco occasionally invests in some of the startups that it’s taken under its wing.
Microsoft and Telefonica also run tech accelerator programmes in London.