Cisco Top In European Startup Collaboration Thanks To London Activities

By: Freddie Dawson, Forbes contributer

Cisco has been ranked as the top corporate for startup collaboration in Europe, according to a new study.

The 25 best companies were revealed at the Startup Europe Summit in Berlin yesterday. Joining tech company Cisco in the top five were respectively: Rabobank, a banking and financial services company; Unilever , a consumer goods company; Telefonica, a telecommunications firm; and Virgin, another telecommunications firm.

The rankings were compiled by  Startup Europe Partnership, an EC initiative aimed at increasing collaboration between startups and corporations, and Nesta, a UK-based charity focused on innovation.

The decision was made by a panel of expert judges that included:

  • Sherry Coutu, author of The Scale-up Report and an angel investo
  • Alberto Onetti, chairman of Mind the Bridge, an entrepreneurial education organisation
  • Dolf Wittkamper, head of European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Digital’s Accelerator
  • Candace Johnson, an entrepreneur that helped to start a number of businesses including SES , Loral Teleport Europe and Europe Online

The judges initially started with a list of around 70 nominations before whittling it down to the 25 that made the final top ranking. Corporates could be nominated by other companies, startups they worked with or self-nominate but had to meet certain size criteria to qualify, says  Chris Haley, head of startup research at Nesta.

Accepted nominees were then asked to provide detailed information on how they interact with startups as well as scaleups. This included areas such as incubation, investment, procurement and even acquisitions.

“Each company has a flavour in the ways that it works with startups,” says Haley. “People are still experimenting with what works so we didn’t want to establish hard and fast criteria limiting the ranking to one area.”

The creators of the rankings felt it was important to highlight best-practice amongst corporates as not all companies had figured out the best reasons for engaging with startups or the best ways to go about doing so.

“ There are some that engage for frankly superficial reasons,” Haley adds. “There’s a few that want the cool factor while some go on fishing expeditions for ideas or  string a startup along and not treat it well. Some startups fail because they think a deal is around the corner when it isn’t. But the top companies do not do this [and that should be recognised].”

Judges had a certain amount of leeway in defining corporate criteria as well as choosing what areas they wanted to emphasise as most important. Further down the list, the different areas of emphasis led to dissenting opinions on companies.

However, there was general consensus on the top companies – although this may be down to them being strong all-rounders with activities in all areas of startup engagement, Haley adds.

“Cisco, Rabobank, and Unilever have all understood that their future lies in capturing and riding the next wave of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Although each of the ways that these Corporations do this differs, they have all not only put into place plans to secure the future of their companies [by working with startups],” says Candace Johnson, a judge for the rankings.

Cisco in particular came in for praise. “Cisco is really active in the European startup ecosystem at various levels. Not just in acquiring startups, but also in investing and supporting them. On the one hand, beyond direct investments, Cisco is also active as a [limited partner] LP in several European venture capital funds. On the other hand, the program Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence [CEIR] just launched for Europe in London is very well designed to build long term strategic relations between Cisco business units and early stage companies. We expect concrete results out of that in terms both of commercial partnerships and acquisitions,” says  Alberto Onetti, another judge for the rankings.

Cisco was particularly proud of the recognition its CEIR programme received. The idea behind it was to create a continuum of offers and programmes where a startup coming in would be able to immediately talk to the right Cisco executive and business group, says Tom Yoritaka, global managing director of CEIR.

As part of the programme, the company engages with the entire startup eco-system – including policymakers, influencers, outside investors and many others on top of the startups that apply to join, he adds.

The company currently has over 30 strategic engagements with startups as a result of the programme and has acquired two startups – Pawaa, an Indian filing company and ParStream, a German analytics company.

The CEIR programme expanded to Europe with a launch in London on 5 may this year. Startups interested in taking part do not have to be based in London (or in California, the site of the original CEIR branch) but need to be able to base enough there to form an effective partnership, says Yoritaka.

In addition to the CEIR programme, Cisco also maintains an active investment portfolio which now has over 100 companies in 27 countries and valued at $2 billion, he adds.

And at the other end of the spectrum Cisco has various innovation programmes. These include nine community spaces that act as early stage incubators. For example in London Cisco has IDEA London based in Shoreditch, he says.

The company also runs a series of competitions called Cisco Grand Challenges that get startups to submit ideas on solving problems in various areas such as security or the internet of things (IOT).

“There are all just other ways to open up to startups,” Yoritaka adds.

The Startup Europe Partnership and Nesta say they were pleased with the responses they got from corporates nominated to take part. Not all companies submitted information when requested and some did not provide enough detail but there were enough entries for the first year to be judged a success, says Haley.

Further editions of the ranking are still under discussion. Currently the two organisations are looking to secure the funding required to run the list again next year. If they do it will be interesting to see whether anyone can knock Cisco off the top spot.


Startup Europe and Welcome sent 8 startups to attend Pioneers Festival, Vienna.

Startup Europe and Welcome sent 8 startups from 4 countries to attend Pioneers Festival in Vienna, 24th and 25th May 2016.

Each of the 8 startups travelled to Vienna courtesy of the Welcome Project with tickets to Pioneers festival provided through the Pioneers500 initiative. At the festival startups networked with top investors and accelerators from across Europe, met with corporate representatives, like minded founders and journalists with the aim of boosting their businesses.

Speakers at Pioneers includedManoj Bhargavaentrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of Living Essentials,Tim Draper, co-founder of VC firm DFJ and Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder. Topics discussed at Pioneers include Business & Productivity, Energy & Utilities, Financial Services, Life Sciences & Agriculture, Lifestyle & Entertainment, Materials & Manufacturing and Mobility & Transportation.

The eight startups are from across the five Welcome ecosystems of Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Madrid and Salamanca.

From Berlin were, LUUV Forward, a hardware startup enabling everyone to take professional, shake-free videos and Vrealtechnologies, a SaaS platform allowing non-expert users to create stunning virtual reality experiences.

The Dublin startups wereTrustHub, a SaaS startup dedicated to making classified and peer-to-peer marketplaces safer and more inclusive for everyone and Parkyourcar, a platform where owners can rent out their parking space and where car drivers  can prepay for a parking space.

Travelling from Milan were Sushijet who have innovated and optimized the delivery to be the fastest food delivery service in Italy and Mangatar, Mangatar, a groundbreaking Italian game company and publisher that leverages the potential of smart publishing.

From Madrid/Salamanca were Artelnics, developing disruptive deep learning software for predictive analytics and Nebusens who have developed n-Core, a powerful hardware and software platform to develop, integrate and deploy easily and quickly, a wide variety of applications over Wireless Sensor Networks.



WELCOME is a project under the Startup Europe initiative that aims to build a pan-European tech startup ecosystem. To that end, Welcome links startups from five vibrant EU ecosystems — Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, Milan and Salamanca, to customers, VCs, business angels, corporates, mentors and other startups. The project targets aspiring entrepreneurs as well as early and late stage startups with activities enabling them to grow across borders and access the right combination of finance while helping corporates identify the best talents.


This competition is part of Welcome’s Europass Programme


About Pioneers

Pioneers is a global relationship builder in tech that provides infrastructures and services to facilitate meaningful business relationships within its juried community. These services inspire, empower and connect the most promising early-stage technology companies with corporations, investors, industry experts, and international media with the goal to increase their rate of economical success and positive impact on society.


Junbi, not an ordinary Box!

Nitro stories: Startups looking for the next episode in their development


In the next days, we would like to introduce you three of the most outstanding companies that participated into Nitro: the Extreme Acceleration Event, that took place for the first time in Utrecht in May 2016. Discover what they do and which reasons move experience entrepreneurs to take part to events such as Nitro.

The first startup of the series is introducing in the market a product who raised the curiosity of all Nitro’s attendants and experts present during the two days. Keep on reading to discover more!


Junbi, not an ordinary Box!


Have you ever wished a magic box?

One of the Nitro’s winner has developed one: Junbi.

Junbi is a box that allows small business, event manager and individuals to solve some of their problems by mean of a simple QR-code scan system. How does it work?

Jumbi pic-2

Junbi is a device that collects information about users’ interactions through its sensors, allowing you to track users’ behaviour, improve engagement and increase revenue.

Sound complicated? It is not. Imagine planning an event with only small resources available: you will need for example to manually check-in all the participants, a task that requires time and employees. Junbi offers you a simple solution to automate the task: each participant gets a QR code that is scanned at the entrance of the event with the Junbi box. Junbi is also able to print you the badge. Besides, Junbi allows you to collect data on the participants and it is an easy and affordable plug & play system.

But it is not just that: the Junbi box supports in fact different services, so you can use it for the registration at events but also as time punch system for small companies, or to generate promotion for small retail business. The only limit is your imagination. Junbi allows in fact to integrate your own system and solution into its box.

Behind Junbi there is a team of experienced and creative Portuguese people, who have already created in the past successful businesses. The CEO DiogoRomão, also co-Founder of Monday.pt and two other companies, strongly believes in its new product: “Junbi was born for a real problem to which there was no real solution, so we built one. Now that Junbi is available it can be used for several scenarios and applications. Imagine it as a fast and affordable way to connect the physical world touchpoints to the cloud. Your imagination is the limit. ”

By participating at Nitro, Diogo wanted to consult with experts of different fields to get valuable insights into product life cycle management, as well as investment and marketing strategies. Why should an experienced entrepreneur attend an event as Nitro? Diogo explains “We had a great experience that helped us to rethink our business and strategy. A really powerful hands-on event with lots of experienced and talented people helping you out, along with other great Startups sharing the same passion for making a difference in the world, can only lead to great results, and it sure did.”

If you want to know more about Junbi visit www.junbi.co or contact Diogo https://www.linkedin.com/in/diogoromao


Also take a look at the Eplus Ecosystem blog and website!


‘Emprende’, de Canal 24 horas, reconocido en los StartUp Europe Awards


El programa de emprendedores de Canal 24 horas ha recibido este martes, en la Dirección General Conect de la Comisión Europea, el reconocimiento como TV Media Partner Oficial para los StartUp Europe Awards (SEA). El director y presentador del programa, Juanma Romero; y el realizador, Luis Oliván, han sido los encargados de recoger el galardón por su labor en apoyo a los emprendedores, que supone el número 22 que recibe ‘Emprende’.

A través de este reconocimiento, el Comité de Selección de los SEA premia a Emprende por su “dilatada trayectoria en apoyo a los emprendedores y a difundir el espíritu emprendedor; por la innovación en su formato dinámico, vivo, rápido y comprensible; y, en definitiva, por contribuir al Plan Europeo de Acción para el Emprendimiento de 2020”.

En la entrega del reconocimiento, Juan Manuel Revuelta, director de la Fundación Finnova, organizadora de los StartUp Europe Awards, ha destacado las buenas prácticas del director y presentador de ‘Emprende’, Juanma Romero; así como de su realizador, Luis Oliván.

Juanma Romero ha subrayado la intención del programa de “apoyar las startups europeas y promover los nuevos empleos relacionados con las tecnologías de la información”. Luis Oliván ha añadido que, “desde ‘Emprende’ se pretende ayudar a los emprendedores que tienen una magnífica idea, pero que no saben cómo trasladarla al mercado”.

Para el jefe de sector de StartUp Europe de la Comisión Europea, Isidro Laso, la labor de RTVE con la emisión de ‘Emprende’ “no sólo es ser una ventana abierta a oportunidades de financiación, así como formación y oportunidades de negocio para los emprendedores, sino también el reconocimiento a su contribución a la recuperación económica”.

StartUp Europe Awards es una iniciativa de la Comisión Europea en colaboración con Finnova, el Comité de las Regiones de la UE, y cuenta con el apoyo del Parlamento Europeo. Estos premios tienen como objetivo crear una alianza de las organizaciones que, a nivel local, provincial, regional y nacional, organizan certámenes de premios para emprendedores, que les conceden visibilidad y contribuyen a la internacionalización de las pymes.

‘Emprende’ y ‘Emprende Digital’

Canal 24 horas emite ‘Emprende’ el jueves a las 16:00 y el sábado a las 07:30 en 24 horas y La 1. ‘Emprende Digital’ se emite los viernes a las 22:00, y los domingos a las 14:30 en versión reducida. Con vocación de servicio público y subtitulado para personas sordas o con deficiencias auditivas, ambos programas aportan su grano de arena a la hora de encontrar nuevas vías de crear empleo a través del desarrollo de nuevos proyectos empresariales. Dirige y presenta Juanma Romero, realiza Luis Oliván y produce Juan Lainez. Desde enero de 2014 han recibido 22 premios, nacionales e internacionales, como reconocimiento a su labor. Los usuarios de Twitter pueden interactuar con el programa a través de su cuenta en esta red social, @emprendeTVE.