Cisco has reported a strong reception for its Idea London centre in the year since it opened, and has showcased a number of young companies that are now residents of the centre.
Founded in collaboration with University College London and DC Thomson, the Idea London centre has been open since October 2013.
The centre lies in London's Shoreditch start-up scene, and offers guidance, advice, support and office space for entrepreneurs to get products, services and ideas up and running.
Start-ups wanting to take part need to attract one of the founding companies to be their 'champion' before they can make use of the support on offer.
Tom Kneen, head of the British Innovation Gateway at Cisco, told V3 that the growth of Idea London has helped the centre stand out against the incubators and accelerators found in London's Tech City and other UK technology clusters.
"We've certainly got ourselves on the map in a year in this centre as a whole," he said during a tour of the facilities.
Kneen went on to explain that Cisco got involved in establishing the Idea centre as an extension of work to support innovation in the UK's technology industry, notably with the British Innovation Gateway programme.
Cisco has been active in investing in and acquiring start ups, and V3 asked Kneen whether Idea London is effectively an area where the company can build up companies before absorbing them into its corporate fold.
Kneen did not describe this as a core motivation for the company, but added: "Probably further down the track these companies could form the sort of companies that Cisco could invest in."
He went on to explain that Cisco is particularly interested in monitoring start-up activity and innovation pertaining to the Internet of Things (IoT).
"In the context of the IoT and the Internet of Everything, clearly this is a route to find what's out there because the market is very young," he said.
"It is a hunting ground for us to find interesting companies that we can work with in some way, but importantly that our customers can work with as well."
Cisco is also involved in the Digital Catapult, another centre that offers support and guidance for start-ups and has a focus on building the UK's presence in the IoT market.
Idea London has attracted start-ups in industries ranging from education and IT, to fashion and gaming.
Stand out examples include a visual search engine for fashion, Snap Fashion, which allows people to take a photo of a garment from a catwalk or a magazine and find it or a similar item online via a mobile device or web browser.
Another is Energy Deck which is working on an online energy management platform that allows companies to see where energy is being consumed in a building and take action to improve efficiency and costs.
KO-SU, meanwhile, aims to provide a web platform that allows teachers to create activities and classes for mobile devices, which can be used to extend education beyond the traditional classroom.
The Idea centre has also attracted technology start-ups specialising in healthcare, which has been touted as a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs.
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