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Eigen Innovations Places 3rd At Cisco Event

Eigen Innovations is returning to Fredericton with a US$25,000 cash prize from placing third at the second annual Cisco Innovation Grand Challenge, but the money may be the least of the benefits.

The New Brunswick Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, startup was named one of six finalists last month in the pitching competition at the IoT World Forum in Dubai. On Tuesday, Eigen was named the third-place winner, and awarded the equivalent of C$33,900.

What’s important about claiming third place is that only the top three competitors in the event are officially given a long-term relationship with Cisco, the global maker of networking equipment and a huge proponent of the Internet of Things. The top three will have VIP access to industry, investment and business experts.

“This includes [access to] Cisco’s Innovation Centers and Cisco Investments team for potential business acceleration and joint go-to-market strategies,” Alex Goryachev, Cisco’s Director of Innovation Programs and Strategy, said in a blog Tuesday. “All this will help to turbo-charge their ventures and the IoT opportunity.”

Cisco believes the Internet of Things will become a $19 trillion market and it is focusing heavily on the segment. Last summer, it announced its US$250 million fund to back IoT innovations, and has made the growing segment a key part of its business strategy.

New Brunswick has already benefited from Cisco’s focus. Cisco Investments is a limited partner in McRock Capital’s McRock INFund, which this year led the $3 million funding round of RtTech Software of Moncton. The company is also the backer of the Cisco Chair for Big Data at the University of New Brunswick.

Eigen has developed algorithms that allow machines to respond automatically to messages from sensors – a classic Internet of Things, or IoT, application. It is one of 3,000 companies from more than 100 countries that entered Cisco’s Innovation Grand Challenge and was named a semi-finalist in October. Eigen was the only Canadian finalist.

In May, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation invested, $250,000 in Eigen Innovations, and the company said that investment would be part of a far larger funding round. There has been no announcement since then, but the First Angel Network now lists Eigen among its portfolio companies.