Cisco’s Former CEO Says Government Is Hurting Startups

GCHQ Startup Accelerator

According to John Chambers, former chief executive of networking giant Cisco Systems, if the U.S. wants to continue to be a technological innovation leader, the government is going to have to step up its efforts to support startups in the country. In a CNBC interview, Chamber argued that the government has created an environment that is hostile toward startups.

“We’re the only country in the world that not only does not have a digitization program, but we don’t have a startup program,” the former executive, turned venture capitalist (VC), told CNBC. “The key thing from the government — make it simple to start a startup and easy to go public. It’s unbelievably difficult in this country.”

Chambers said there needs to be improvements in the education system across the country to have a more supportive environment for startups.

“For startups to work, you have to change the education system, which we all know is broken,” he told CNBC. “When I pop into class in France and start to tell them what artificial intelligence is, they are already teaching that class.”

Chambers noted that JC2 Ventures, his VC firm, currently lists nine startups as investments but he plans to increase his investments in startups.

Global initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2017 saw the highest number of listings since the financial crisis, driven by strong activity in the U.S. and a record number of Chinese issuances. Citing data from technology company Dealogic, the Financial Times reported that nearly 1,700 companies went public last year, up 44 percent from 2016 and representing the highest number of IPOs since 2007. The total amount of money the startups raised also increased, up 44 percent year over year to $196 billion. The figure marks the largest total IPO amount since 2014.