In December 2008 a new startup called iCore Software entered the almost empty OS virtualization market, where Parallels is a leader (and potentially a monopolist if Oracle will kill the Solaris Containers technology as soon as it completes the acquisition of Sun).
At the moment iCore targets the consumer market but, as often happens in IT industry, as soon as the first investment will come in (and with it a bunch of seasoned board advisors), the strategy may change quickly.
At the moment their product, Virtual Accounts, is still in private beta and may appear hopeless in a highly competitive market where VMware (Workstation/Fusion), Parallels (Desktop) and Sun (VirtualBox), and soon VirtualPC embedded in Windows 7, are pretty mature and already address most of the customer needs. Anyway Cisco seems to have a different opinion.
The networking giant recently hold a global Business Plan Competition for university and business school students. Over 1,000 students applied, including the graduated PHDs that funded iCore in 2007: Artem Prokopenko and Nikita Parfenov.
iCore didn’t win the competition but Cisco selected the company as one of the 16 finalists.
As result Cisco will work with them in “leading the next wave of disruptive technologies by providing mentorship and professional assessments regarding their submissions”.