News Release

Cisco Commits to Sustainable Development of Russian Technology Innovation Agenda Through $1B Multi-Year Investment

Cisco CEO Chambers Signs MoU with Viktor Vekselberg to Establish Physical Presence in Skolkovo; Announces I-Prize Contest for Russia; Extends Venture Capital Investment by $100M
Jun 23, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif. and MOSCOW – June 23, 2010 - In a meeting today in San Jose, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers discussed a wide-ranging series of collaborative initiatives that will underpin the Russian Federation's technology innovation agenda. During the meeting, Cisco made a firm commitment to invest $1B USD to drive entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation in Russia as a partner in achieving the country's goals.   Cisco has identified a five phase collaborative approach over this next decade through which this $1B investment will be staged.  The five phases will run in parallel. During the meeting today, John Chambers and Viktor Vekselberg also signed a memorandum of understanding to underline its firm commitment to the Skolkovo Project as the platform for this innovation initiative.

  1. A focused effort to attract talent, ideas and investment in partnership with the venture capital community forms the basis of the first phase.  Cisco today announced that it will extend its existing venture commitment to Russia's innovation economy with an incremental $100M.   Through direct innovation-enabling investments and a deepening of its collaborative model with Almaz Capital Partners, Cisco aims to further stimulate the venture community which enables Russia's innovation agenda.  In extending its longstanding focus on talent development, Cisco also today committed to increase the number of Cisco Networking Academies to 300 across the country.
  1. As part of our second phase of establishing an innovation and venture platform in the country, Cisco announced a firm commitment to establish a dedicated physical presence in Skolkovo.   The collaborative memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed today will form a platform for Cisco's future cooperation with the government and local businesses.  Cisco will immediately begin applying resources in terms of business development, thought leadership, services and consulting to shape this commitment.  Cisco aims to establish Skolkovo as the first of a next-generation of Smart+Connected Communities in Russia, and establish a collaborative model for Russia's future sustainable social, economic and environmental development. 
  1. As part of phase three, Cisco is now extending its dedicated Cisco research and development capability in Russia.  It is our intent that along with the Skolkovo infrastructure build out, Senior Vice President Marthin De Beer will establish a second global headquarters for our Emerging Technologies Group and will locate key members of its engineering team in Skolkovo.   Cisco aims to initiate several internal Cisco start-up business units using the Skolkovo innovation platform, and will contribute to transforming Skolkovo into one of the most advanced technology regions in the world.  Cisco already operates dedicated manufacturing and development for Russia-specific routing technologies, and will look to extend its engineering expertise throughout the region.
  1. Phase four will focus on collaboration in the areas of go-to-market models for the creation and success of start-ups in partnership with the Russian venture capital community.   In alignment with this effort, and as an initial focus to catalyze the spirit of innovation, Cisco also announced the third phase of its I-Prize competition, open specifically to entrepreneurial teams in Russia to identify ideas and participate in Cisco start-ups which have the potential to become Cisco's next billion dollar businesses.  Cisco will provide $175,000 USD in overall prize money for the winning Russian teams in the contest, as part of the multi-year investment announced today, and envisions extending and commercializing the winning concept from the Russian I-Prize through its presence in Skolkovo. 
  1. In the fifth phase, Cisco will build a model for partnering with existing businesses, venture capital and technology companies in Russia. By building a collaborative model that showcases how to successfully partner with existing leading-edge Russian teams, Cisco will look to work on joint development projects in areas such as smart grid, financial services, service provider models, financing, broadband implementation and social networking to develop exportable products, solutions and business models.  Cisco will also look to extend the value of its physical facilities in Skolkovo over time through the use of collaborative technologies to develop a broader virtual presence to drive innovation throughout Russia and beyond.  The intention is to help replicate a series of Smart+Connected Community Innovation Centers around the world that are first physical locations and then eventually virtual.  

Key Facts

Skolkovo Project

  • The Skolkovo Project plans were publicly announced last March by President Medvedev and aim to develop a technology and innovation hub in Russia. Built around President Medvedev's priorities for economic development and modernization, the Skolkovo project will focus on areas in information and communication technology as well as biotech, energy and nuclear technology. The project will be managed and financed by a consortium of public and private organizations in Russia.
  • According to the MoU, Cisco will share with the Fund global best practices and expertise in the creation of innovation centers and put forward this expertise to the development of the Skolkovo Project. Special emphasis will be put on the creation of a culture of innovation, collaboration and replicable business models.
  • One of the areas of focus for Cisco and the Skolkovo project will be for Cisco to play a key role in the design of 'Technopolis Skolkovo', a framework that will be based on the business model behind the Cisco Globalisation Centre East in Bangalore, India.
  • 'Technopolis Skolkovo' will be designed to fully reflect the concepts of Cisco Smart+Connected Communities and will serve as a best practice facility in multiple focus areas such as: Smart Connected Buildings, Smart Grid, Smart Connected Real Estate, Safety and Security, Connected Transportation, Education, and Healthcare.
  • Cisco and the Fund will also work on other ICT and Entrepreneurship skills development programs that are created based on existing Cisco education and training programs and initiatives such as the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute program.  Cisco's Entrepreneur Institute, already successfully operating in countries such as the US, Turkey and Mexico, provides a practical curriculum for entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop their full potential.

Cisco I-Prize for Russia

  • The Cisco I-Prize, now entering its third stage, is a global innovation competition that has mined collective wisdom to identify and develop new business models and opportunities for Cisco.  The winning team from the first round of the I-Prize contest was in fact a joint Russian – German team whose ideas made a significant contribution to Cisco's connected energy strategy.   
  • In Russia, Cisco is announcing its intention to tap collaborative innovation, and to help stimulate this type of creativity and will offer total prize money of $175,000 for this initial contest.    Cisco will award a prize of $100,000 USD to the winning entry, the second winning team will receive $50,000 and the third team $25,000.   Further details on how to enter and categories for entry will be announced shortly.  If successful, Cisco will examine running additional I-Prize contests in Russia to further stimulate innovation.
  • The Russian contest is intended to attract talent and ideas that have the potential to become new start-up ventures that could be based in the new 'Technopolis Skolkovo'.   The winning idea and team will likely also represent an opportunity for investment by Cisco and/or venture capital firms.

Cisco's longstanding commitment to Innovation and Skills Development

  • To date, Cisco has made both direct and indirect venture investments in locations such as the US, China, India, Israel, South Korea, Mexico and across Europe, including Russia. 
  • Cisco is extending and accelerating our investments in markets in which we are already present, and we are entering into new markets with exciting new teams and partnerships as part of our overall strategy of global market investment.
  • In 2008, Cisco announced a $30M USD anchor investment in the Almaz Capital Russia Fund I, L.P., as part of an initial $60M USD close of a venture capital fund that focuses on Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), in collaboration with Almaz Capital Partners. 
  • Cisco has been an active participant in developing technology education initiatives in Russia for several years and currently has 133 active Cisco Networking Academies delivering educational programs across the country of which 54 are based in the Moscow area.  With this announcement and with this announcement will increase the number to 300

Executive Quotes

  • President Dmitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation
  • "During the next decade Russia should become a country in which the welfare and the good quality of life is ensured by its intellectual, rather than natural, resources, its innovative economy.  The Skolkovo Project embodies the focus that we are placing both on innovation and public private partnership and we welcome the significant commitments that Cisco is making with us today to support Russia's future."

  • Viktor Vekselberg, president of the Fund for the Development of Russia's Center for Elaboration and Commercialization of New Technologies
  • "We are very excited to have Cisco's support in advancing the Skolkovo project.  As a key global technology organization, Cisco is a front-runner for advancing innovation models.  We view the Skolkovo project as a truly international initiative, and it is my view that instead of reinventing the bicycle, we should learn from the successful models that originated in the US. We look forward to a successful cooperation with Cisco."

  • John T. Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer, Cisco
  • "President Medvedev's vision of transforming economic development through innovation is closely aligned with Cisco's belief that the innovative application of technology can have a positive impact on a country's competitiveness, diversification of its industry base, its ability to create jobs and improve quality of life for its citizens. Cisco is aggressively hiring talent and investing in innovation as we capture market transitions. Our approach is to grow jobs and investments aligned with the growth and opportunity in our business, here in the United States and globally where we see countries investing in education, infrastructure and innovation. Russia is clearly doing just that, which for Cisco represents an opportunity to grow our global business and our innovation platform."

  • Paul Mountford, president of Emerging Markets for Cisco
  • "Russia is rapidly building out its communications infrastructure, which presents a unique opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop new technologies and applications. Cisco is committed to support the building of entrepreneurial capacity in Russia and looks forward to catalyze and accelerate tech innovation and intends to become a defining player in taking technology investment in the region to the next level. We see a clear economic benefit to Cisco, and it is our belief that the I-Prize innovation competition for Russia we are announcing today has the potential to generate between 200 – 300 new ideas by tapping into these new sources of collective development."

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