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The venture capital industry has had a long love affair with tech start-ups, going back two decades. Only brief interruptions by a tech stock bubble here and a global financial crisis there have slowed the pace of investment. In most cases there is only one strategy, and that is an exit strategy, preferably with massive multiples over the initial investment. But, increasingly, technology giants themselves are the investors, with their own venture capital divisions, and, in most cases, they have no intention of exiting. A striking example is Cisco, the world's leading computer networking hardware supplier, which has acquired no less than 203 companies in its 33-year history. Its VC division has $2-billion (about R24-billion) invested in 120 companies At this week's Cisco Live conference in Barcelona, it showcased the dramatic impact some of its investments have had on the business as a whole. In particular, the $2.7-billion acquisition of network security company Sourcefire and the $...

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