Cisco commits $1bn to backing Britain's tech stars


Click to follow
The Independent Online

The US technology giant Cisco has vowed to invest $1bn (£650m) in the British tech industry over the next five years.

Cisco is committing $150m (£97.5m) to UK start-ups through venture capital equity investments. These will target companies focused on the “internet of things” – those designing innovative products for the financial services, retail and healthcare industries.

It said the money will also go towards expanding its education programme and on more acquisitions in the UK.

Cisco currently employs around 7,000 people in the UK and it is building a new office in central London that will create at least another 200 jobs. The pledge is another boost for the UK’s fast-growing tech scene, which has attracted increasing levels of investment from the US in recent years.

Cisco directors, including the chairman and chief executive John Chambers, made the promise in a meeting at 10 Downing Street with David Cameron and the Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The Prime Minister hailed the news, saying: “This massive investment from Cisco is great news for the UK’s growing digital economy and is a clear vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan.

“It will create jobs and growth across the country, providing security for hard- working people.”

The latest round of funding follows a $500m investment made by Cisco in 2011 when it launched the British Innovation Gateway in support of the development of Tech City, the government-led initiative to encourage digital businesses in East London.

Mr  Chambers said the UK is “well on its way to becoming one of the top digitised countries in the world”.

He added: “Since 2011 we have delivered over and above on every objective we set with the Government in our prior commitments – encouraging technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Through the British Innovation Gateway initiative, we have supported the Government’s ambition to create world-class technology hubs across the country, generate jobs, diversify the economy and support sustainable economic growth.”