California: U.S-based tech giant Cisco said it will pump in USD 100 million (around Rs 665 crore) to fund startups and train 2.5 lakh students in India by 2020.
The company, which has over 10,000 employees in India, is looking at funding early-stage and growth-stage companies in the country across areas like Internet of Things, security and smart cities, allocating about USD 40 million of the fresh investments announced. Last year, Cisco had committed USD 20 million to train 1.2 lakh students on skills and an additional USD 40 million for expansion in India, including setting up manufacturing in India.
"We are collaborating closely with state governments on strategic initiatives like setting up innovation labs. We want to play a key role in digitisation of the country. The impact of digitisation is far-reaching, helping countries maintain global competitiveness, foster innovation and create jobs," Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers told reporters here.
Cisco, under the global Country Digitisation Acceleration (CDA programme), will set up six new innovation labs, three centres of expertise, funded university collaborations and skills investments as part of its plans. Under CDA, select countries receive major strategic investment to accelerate existing government goals for driving economic growth through high-tech innovation. "We want to create a pipeline of 2.5 lakh skilled students in India by 2020 and a marketplace for high value technology-based careers," Chambers said. He added that Cisco's focus will be on next generation technologies like security, cloud, and the IoT as well as digital plays in smart cities, financial services, healthcare, e-governance.
"Cisco's strategy is to have an active role at all stages of startup development, from identification, creation of incubators and accelerator programs, to directly and indirectly funding the most promising digital startups across India," he said. Cisco has invested in about 25 companies in India.
(With agency inputs)