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Cisco Opens Russian VC Initiative

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Cisco Systems (NasdaqGS:CSCO - News) today announced a venture capital initiative targeting the technology industry in Russia. Cisco will pursue direct investment opportunities into technology-related start-ups as well as investments into local venture capital teams targeting the technology industry. Last year, in anticipation of this investment initiative, Cisco hired a full-time investment manager based in Moscow.

To launch the initiative, Cisco also announced that it has made an investment in a leading Russian e-commerce site, Ozon. With tens of thousands of book, movie and music titles on offer, Ozon is helping to shape the future of consumer e-commerce in Russia.

Further details of the deal were not disclosed.

"While Russia has low Internet penetration in terms of percentage of its overall population, in absolute terms it has as many Internet users as some Western European countries," said Bob Agee, vice president, Cisco Russia. "The amount of technical talent in Russia shows that the country is ready to become more technologically advanced. Increased investment in communications infrastructure can help improve productivity, diversify the economy and increase the standard of living across the country."

"Our venture investment in Russia is a continuation of a global strategy that we've implemented in Europe, Israel, China and India, which is to invest in local start-ups and venture teams and help promote the growth of a local innovation economy," said Hilton Romanski, director, global corporate business development. "Ozon is the first in what we hope will be an expanding venture relationship between Cisco and Russian entrepreneurs and investment partners."

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