Former Cisco chairman and chief executive John Chambers, who ended his tenure at the networking giant last month, has emerged as CEO of a namesake venture capital firm.
Chambers took to Twitter this week to announce the launch of JC2 Ventures, venture firm focused on incubating digital-focused startups. The firm already has eight companies in its portfolio, including four – Airware, OpenGov, Pindrop and Sprinklr – on which Chambers serves as a board member.
Chambers is in elite tech investment company on those boards. Powerhouse venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen also has a seat on the OpenGov and Pindrop boards.
OpenGov develops cloud-based public sector budgeting and performance software. Its advisers include former US secretary of the treasury Lawrence Summers and former US secretary ofsState George Shultz. JC2's other portfolio companies are Aspire Food Group, Dedrone, Privoro and Uniphore.
The firm's leadership team also includes Chambers' son, John J. Chambers, as "head of growth," and Chambers' longtime Cisco executive communications manager, Shannon Pina, as chief of staff.
Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as head of sales. He was CEO from 1995 to mid-2015, and he's been a member of the company's board of directors since 1993. He now has the honorary title of chairman emeritus.
Under Chambers' leadership, Cisco navigated treacherous waters from the dot-com bubble to the rise of the cloud and software-based markets and sales strategies. Cisco grew from US$1.2 billion in revenue to US$47 billion while Chambers was CEO.
Chambers stepped down as Cisco chairman during the company's annual shareholders' meeting last month, leaving leadership responsibilities solely with CEO Chuck Robbins, who was elected to the company's board.
"You're the cornerstone in our history," Robbins said to Chambers during the meeting. "No other person is more responsible for Cisco's significant technological and societal contributions, and you'll always be a part of Cisco just as I imagine Cisco will always be a part of you."