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Cisco Ex-Boss John Chambers Launches VC Firm & Praises Eating Insects

The former Cisco CEO and chairman has launched a VC firm with investments including Internet of Things, customer experience and – this is where the bugs come in – agritech.

Mitch Wagner

January 18, 2018

3 Min Read
Cisco Ex-Boss John Chambers Launches VC Firm & Praises Eating Insects

Cisco's former CEO and chairman, John Chambers, has launched a venture capital firm, looking to invest in a broad array of tech businesses, including the Aspire Food Group, the self-described "global industry leaders in the edible insect movement."

We weren't aware that edible insects were a "movement."

On the other hand, there certainly has been a lot of marketing hype about edible insects as a business. Investors are buzzing with excitement.

And Chambers is a savvy businessman. It's always been apparent there are no flies on him. We didn't realize that was because he'd eaten all of them.

Chambers retired as CEO of Cisco in 2015 after 20 years heading up the company. Chambers stepped aside as Cisco executive chairman in December. (See Cisco's John Chambers Retiring Even More.)

But Chambers isn't relaxing in his retirement. He's busy as a bee.

"Startups are the future in terms of job creation and gender equality," Chambers said in a statement announcing the launch of JC2 Ventures this week. The firm is looking to "invest in companies and entrepreneurs that are committed to solving today's most pressing problems -- such a security and world hunger."

JC2 will invest in Internet of Things, digital communications such as social media, customer experience, voice, security, agtech and "companies with digital implications," Chambers says.

Figure 1:

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The JC2 portfolio already includes eight companies. In addition to Aspire Food Group, they are Airware, which provides enterprise drone analytics; Dedrone, for drone security; OpenGov, which provides cloud solutions for public sector budgeting, operations and citizen engagement; Pindrop, for call-center anti-fraud and security; Privoro, for smartphone anti-surveillance; Sprinklr, for multichannel customer engagement, experience and marketing; and Uniphore for speech technology.

JC2 Ventures provides financial support and mentoring.

Chambers' son, John J. Chambers, joins JC2 Ventures the firm as Head of Growth, and Shannon Pina, who worked with Chambers for 12 years heading up his communications team, joins the company as chief of staff.

Chambers discusses the company vision -- including entomophagy -- in this YouTube video:

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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