France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced yesterday a thorough partnership with Cisco for the coming years. Among other things, Cisco CEO John Chambers said that the company is taking tiny steps to ramp up its investments in French startups, starting by investing $100 million in multiple French startups over the coming years.
There are two interesting tidbits behind today’s news. First, the agreement between Cisco and the French Government is not just about startups. The two entities will work together to educate 200,000 people when it comes to network infrastructure jobs. Other parts of the agreement include collaborating on cybersecurity, smart networks and smart cities.
In other words, dedicating $100 million to invest in French startups is a tiny part compared to the rest of the agreement. But it’s interesting to see that startup investment can be part of such a deal.
Second, while I don’t know who first suggested dedicating $100 million to French startups, both scenarios are quite positive. If Cisco wanted to invest in French startups, it means that France’s startup image is improving. If the French Government asked for it, it means that making sure that French startups receive enough funding is one of the Government’s main concerns right now.
I’m not sure whether Cisco will make smart investments, and the company won’t change the face of the French tech ecosystem. But it’s a somewhat encouraging sign.