Cisco licks lips, eyes UK's cyber, analytics and fin-tech startups

Try to look delicious, Blighty firms

Acquisition-hungry network giant Cisco is looking to gobble a string of UK businesses this year – specifically in cyber, "fin-tech" and analytics, Tom Kneen, head of business development at Cisco UK has said.

Speaking to The Register at Cisco Live in Berlin, Kneen said he "doesn't see acquisitions stopping" at the pace the company has been going of late."

Cisco's most recent high-profile buy was of US Internet of Things outfit Jasper – but it has also snapped up a number of outfits in Blighty.

Back in November, Cisco hoovered up London-based video conferencing and collaboration tech outfit Acano for $700m. "The UK has been a rich area for us in terms of collaboration technology over the years," said Kneen.

It also bought UK-based based security firm Portcullis for an undisclosed sum in October.

He said: "In general we're also looking at areas that underpin digital in our perspective – so things like cloud, the internet of everything, mobility and social."

Kneen says the company is also keen to work with startups at a pre-investment stage - and has eight incubation centres across the world, including one in London.

"Over the last two years we’ve made an effort to make more approachable to startups," he said.

“With THE speeding up of innovation and lowering of the cost – if you don’t do that, you are going to lose out. We could be disrupted as quickly as anyone else. So as a technology company we have to be a lot closer to what’s happening on the ground. So there is a benefit in that perspective, but it also allows us to widen our portfolio."

He said: "We've picked out countries where we are looking at where their expertise is likely to be. So in Germany it's clearly a manufacturing skill set. So looking at manufacturing from an automation, digitisation [aspect], why Germany will have that focus. UK will focus on smart cities, transport, those areas, Australia around resources and mining."

Cisco currently has invested in a portfolio of companies with a combined value of $2bn, including UK internet startup Evrything. "It's done very well, and is probably a scale up more than a startup," Kneen said. ®

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