The Top 10: #2 Daniel Karp, director, Cisco M&A & VC investments

Daniel Karp joined Cisco Investments, networking equipment manufacturer Cisco’s corporate venture capital (CVC) subsidiary, in 2013 and concentrates on investment and acquisition opportunities in Israel and Latin America as director of mergers and acquisitions and venture capital.

Derek Idemoto, senior vice-president of corporate development and Cisco Investments, said: “Daniel Karp [has a] successful, multi-year track-record of venture investments across the globe. His strong business acumen, combined with his ability to sift through the noise to identify the most significant emerging trends, has led him to become a successful investor in areas of cloud, data management, silicon, SaaS and security.

“Daniel has a strong reputation with startup CEOs as a trusted adviser who bridges their success with Cisco’s own goals, helping Daniel build a portfolio of disruptive, high-calibre companies, including Gong, Habana Labs, Elastifile, Lightbits Labs, MemVerge, Illusive and Sealights. Since joining the team, his portfolio has resulted in exits of over $2.5bn.

“Daniel is recognised in the industry as a thought leader in cloud-first enterprise deep tech. Within our own team, others often turn to Daniel for mentorship and coaching, and he never turns down an opportunity to share his insights on how to take a thesis-driven approach, the importance of relationship-driven investments, and how to tie strategic rationale to a holistic action plan. Daniel is a rare talent, and we know more great things lie ahead for him in his career.”

Regarding his role, Karp said: “I lead the Investments and M&A efforts for Cisco’s corporate development and investments group across two domains – cloud and compute and intent-based networking (datacentre, cloud and enterprise networking). Moreover, I lead our geographical efforts in Israel and Latin America.

“I joined Cisco Investments and Corporate Development team in 2013. In the first few years, I led the team’s geographic efforts in Israel and Latin America. As such, I was focused on all relevant domains and technologies for Cisco, leading strategic investments in companies like Habana Labs (AI chipsets, acquired by Intel for $2bn), Gong.io (revenue intelligence, valued at $2.15bn) and Sealights (DevOps quality governance), and in funds like Team8 (cyber-focused venture creation platform) and KaszeK (Latin America regional fund).

“Around 1.5 years ago, I have also started covering the team’s global efforts in a few domains – namely, the cloud and compute domain, which spans hybrid cloud management and systems like UCS and Hyperlfex, and then over the past year I have also added a focus around data centre and the enterprise networking domains (our largest product franchises, including products like SD-WAN, enterprise switches and routers datacentre switches and wireless). Overall, I have led roughly a dozen direct investments for Cisco as well as two fund investments and have been involved in a few acquisitions.”

Before Cisco, Karp was a senior strategy manager at software producer Microsoft, where he oversaw the strategy of Microsoft’s internal incubation projects arm, Startup Business Group, and the firm’s research subsidiary, Microsoft Research, where he focused on areas such as natural user interface, communications and collaboration, robotics, 3D printing and machine learning. He also served as a product manager and product marketing manager at Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Windows Azure.