Cisco Investments commits $150m to start-up companies

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SAN FRANCISCO – Cisco’s corporate venture-capital arm said would deploy $150 million to start- companies over the next two to three years, accelerating its investments into areas such as Internet-enabled communication between objects.

That theme, also known as the Internet Things, will complement other Cisco investing themes such as big data and connecting mobile devices, Cisco senior vice president for corporate Hilton Romanski told reporters Wednesday.

The amount, coupled $100 million that Cisco said in January would deploy to start-ups in those areas, puts Cisco Investments par mid-sized venture capital firms.

San Jose-based Cisco, known for networking equipment, also announced two investments in the Internet Things. took part in a $7 million investment in Everything, a -based company that connects to the Internet.

It also joined a $14.5 million round for Ayla Networks, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that helps companies monitor devices using the Internet.

The networking giant said it would increase its investment in Alchemist Accelerator, a San Jose, Calif.-based incubator for start- companies, a goal supporting companies working the Internet of Things.

Critics of corporate venture investing the company’s involvement can sometimes taint a start-, for example, by putting off competing companies from using the start-’s . But fans the imprimatur from a big established company helps start-ups build credibility. (Reuters)