The competition is designed to elicit new technology-oriented ideas from aspiring college and university student entrepreneurs around the world. Fourteen finalists will be announced on June 22, 2010. The winner, who will be announced on June 29, 2010, will receive a minimum of $250,000 seed money. The winner will also receive professional feedback and mentorship from both DFJ and Cisco.
"I could travel to over a dozen countries, visit hundreds of universities, spend months meeting with thousands of companies, but instead I get to see the best of the best during one single day via the geographic reach of the DFJ Global Network and the magic of Cisco TelePresenceTM," said Tim Draper, managing director, DFJ. "Last year we held our first global business plan competition, and we were absolutely blown away by the caliber of the teams. These are resilient, nimble, and resourceful young entrepreneurs who follow their passions and make things happen. I have been in the venture industry for 25 years, and it's entrepreneurs like these that will continue to inspire me for the next 25."
Despite recessionary market conditions during last year's competition, 15 of the 16 finalists from 2009 are still going strong. Five of them have raised more than $500,000 in financing, and one team that closed their business has spawned two new start-ups. To learn more about these DFJ riskmasters, check out "Where Are They Now?"
"We are thrilled to partner with DFJ on our second global business plan competition and look forward to hearing innovative, bold ideas from student entrepreneurs all over the world. It's an incredible journey to take in the course of only one day, and it's made possible through the power of Cisco TelePresence," said Hilton Romanski, vice president of corporate development at Cisco. "Cisco grew from start-up roots and is excited to help cultivate the next generation of start-up companies while at the same time continuing our long-standing strategy of investing in innovation wherever we find it."
Overall, Cisco has approximately $1.4 billion in venture capital investments under management and has been an early and active investor in major markets such as the U.S., China, India, Israel, Russia and Europe. Cisco is a strategic investor in start-ups and venture funds around the world and focuses on partnering with young, innovative companies.
Finalists will be selected on various criteria including the quality of the management team, technical innovation, addressable market size, competitive positioning, barriers, capital efficiency and financial projections. Click here to find out more about the competition. DFJ has a history of exceptional successes with business plan competition winners, including DFJ-backed DirectHit (acquired by AskJeeves in 2000 for $532 million), Webline Communications (acquired by Cisco for $325 million in 1999), and EnerNOC (ENOC) (IPO in 2007).
About Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Draper Fisher Jurvetson ("DFJ") backs extraordinary entrepreneurs everywhere who set out to change the world. DFJ achieves its mission through its DFJ Global Network of Partner Funds. Together, DFJ and the Network manage over $6B and have made more than 600 investments on four continents. With a 24-year history of success across diverse sectors and market conditions, DFJ has led the way investing in emerging technologies, from the Internet and life sciences to clean energy and nanotechnology. DFJ has been proud to back over 500 companies across many sectors including such industry changing successes such as Hotmail (acquired by MSFT), Baidu (BIDU), Skype (acquired by EBAY), United Online (UNTD), Overture (acquired by YHOO), Athenahealth (ATHN), EnerNOC (ENOC), TicketsNow (acquired by TicketMaster), Feedburner (acquired by Google), Interwoven (IWOV), Four11 (acquired by YHOO), Parametric (PMTC), and Digidesign (acquired by AVID).
About Cisco Systems
Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.