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Cisco's Chambers: Now we need 5 more Snaps

Snap's IPO Thursday was "tremendous" but the country needs five times as many start-ups going public to meet economic growth targets, said John Chambers, executive chairman and former CEO of Cisco.

"We used to be the start-up nation and we have fallen way behind," Chambers told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday. "It's tremendous to have a Snap but we need 5 Snaps."

Snapchat parent Snap debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, opening trading at $24 a share and rising 41.2 percent from its pricing at the open.

"We only took 90 companies public on the Nasdaq last year — we normally run 200," he said. "We only took 35 companies public on the New York Stock Exchange, we normally do 80."

Chambers spoke from the sidelines of YPO Edge, a summit held in Vancouver, Canada of nearly 3,000 leaders from around the world who have been dubbed "architects of change."

Chambers looks to Europe, especially France, and India as leaders in the transition to the new digital era.

"Countries that may not have led in the last change now are suddenly starting to lead," he said.

It's a vision that Washington could learn from, he said. "You have got to do what Israel, Germany, India, France are doing," he said. "We're the only country in the world without a digital plan.

Heidi Petty