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Photo: Mala Anand, Cisco SVP, talking with Dan Shipper, founder of Firely

Mala Anand, Cisco SVP, talking with Dan Shipper, founder of Firely

Tom Yoritaka, Managing Director of Cisco EIR, with Moritz Plassnig from Codeship

Cisco EIR teamed up with Kairos Society this past winter to host an innovation challenge for student entrepreneurs from around the world. We asked young startup teams to show us their big ideas that may transform how enterprises & their employees collaborate across boundaries in the future. The response was incredible: dozens of startups founded by passionate young entrepreneurs applied.

Narrowing the field from so many enthusiastic & creative teams was a challenge within a challenge for the judges. Competition was stiff as the top candidates squared off in online pitch sessions hosted by Alex Fiance, global president of Kairos Society, and myself (watch pitch session one and two).

Winners of the Kairos-Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Innovation Challenge

The 5 winning teams of the Karios-Cisco Innovation Challenge represent some of the top young entrepreneurial talent across the globe:

  • Firefly (Philadelphia, PA.) offers a co-browsing solution for simple collaboration in a Web browser.
  • Codeship (Vienna, Austria) provides a suite of online productivity tools to speed software development.
  • Hive (Manchester, UK) is developing a cross-platform collaboration tool that provides distraction-free sharing & conferencing.
  • Coable (Amsterdam, Netherlands) provides tools for cost-effective cybersecurity & compliance benchmarking.
  • Visuu (Warsaw, Poland) has a document sharing application that streamlines the handling of business forms & paperwork.

Since the end of the challenge, 2 of the 5 companies have already had either an exit or a successful funding round. Firefly has been acquired by Pegasystems, and Codeship has raised $2.6M in a Series A round (and has moved part of the team to Boston!) We are proud of them. Congratulations!

Winners Day Event & Video

The winning teams came to Silicon Valley at the end of January for a full-day event in their honor at our Cisco headquarters. The teams received a VIP tour of Cisco & heard from senior Cisco executives, including Mala Anand, SVP of Cisco Services Platforms Group; Edzard Overbeek, SVP of Global Cisco Services and several others. A highlight of the day was when the young entrepreneurs sat down to chat with Cisco executives during individual mentoring sessions.

We would like to thank the Kairos Society for making the innovation challenge possible. Congratulations once again to the innovative teams of young entrepreneurs at Firefly, Codeship, Firefly, Hive, Coable & Visuu!

Check out the video highlighting the fun & action-filled day.

About the Author

Tom Yoritaka
Global Managing Director of Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence at Cisco Systems
About Cisco EIR
Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence is a 6 month startup incubator focused on growth and distribution in the Cisco ecosystem.
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