“Cisco’s teams will mentor start-ups 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,” Cisco President, Engineering and India Site Leader Amit Phadnis said.
Cisco LaunchPad is designed to help start-ups, its authorised channel partners and developers scale up their solutions, address new markets and build digital businesses, he added. Cisco will also provide space at its Bengaluru campus with access to a suite of technologies and free grants to start-ups that choose to work on its campus.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to digitise the next three billion people in one-third the time it took to connect the first three billion,” he said, adding that the solutions developed can be scaled up for use across countries.
India is the youngest start-up and developer nation in the world with 72 per cent of the 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 viability of applicants’ business plans, strength of their teams and their alignment with the company’s digitisation vision. Through LaunchPad, the start-ups will work on solving business relevant problems by catering to cases identified and validated by Cisco go-to-market teams.
“The target of such innovative solutions will be to help digitise the next three billion people and will initially focus on manufacturing, retail, transportation, education and healthcare,” he said.
The LaunchPad programme will focus on innovation and monetisation opportunities in these industries and help unlock new markets, he added. Cisco has also partnered with Tech Mahindra to co-develop digital solutions for Indian electric utilities. Cisco and Tech Mahindra will also work with select start-ups and developers to accelerate digitisation of the power sector and transform the way electricity is delivered and used by people, Phadnis said.
L Ravichandran, President and COO at Tech Mahindra, said Cisco LaunchPad is a platform for Tech Mahindra to help solve some of the complex emerging market problems like the energy management, healthcare access and intelligent manufacturing.
The US-based firm already runs Country Digitization Acceleration and Cisco Investment programs in India. It has already committed $280 million to boosting the Indian start-up ecosystem.