Cisco funds Shekhar Kapoor start-up

Written by Goutam Das | Goutam Das | Bangalore | Updated: Sep 30 2011, 07:50am hrs
Technology giant Cisco has funded Shekhar Kapur Digital Media, a company founded by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur in association with music composer AR Rahman, sources close to the development told FE.

Based out of Bangalore and Mumbai, the start up firm creates digital entertainment content for internet and mobile platforms.

Cisco, a networking equipment maker, operates a $200 million corporate venture capital fund in India and has thus far invested in companies that include Netmagic, Indiagames, Comviva, Nimbus Communications, Real Image, Servion and Mycity. Cisco had also invested in the erstwhile Satyam Computer Services to develop healthcare management solutions.

While both the companies are tight-lipped about the funding and its value, sources said that an announcement is expected soon. Shekhar Kapur did not confirm the development and told FE that he couldnt speak due to non-disclosure agreements.

Shekhar Kapur Digital Media started last year and in November 2010, the firm appointed Poonacha Machaiah as its CEO. Machaiah had earlier founded Above Solutions, a technology start up short-listed for Nasscoms Innovation Awards in 2011. Incidentally, that company too has a partnership with Cisco the firms website says that its engineering teams worked closely with Cisco at various points in its product life cycle.

Corporate funds typically invest in companies that going ahead, can help accelerate the use of their products and enable a larger ecosystem.

Besides India, Cisco is an equity investor in China, Israel and European markets.

The firms Investments and M&A group wants to invest in technology areas such as video communication and collaboration, new media and digital entertainment platforms, cloud commuting and managed services, sources said.

In 2005, Cisco had announced an investment of $1.1 billion in India. Of this, $100 million was set aside for venture capital investments.

In October 2007, Cisco added another $100 million towards venture capital investments to accelerate market making in high growth segments.

According to sources, Cisco has already made direct and indirect investments of about half that amount.

Indirect investments are done through the Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund, a venture capital fund focused on Asia. Through this route, Cisco has been an early investor in companies such as Makemytrip, Sify and CSS.