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Ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers jumps into venture capital

  • John Chambers, former CEO and chairman of Cisco, has a new self-funded venture capital firm.
  • His focus areas include the Internet of Things, digital communications, security and agriculture.
  • The firm has 8 companies in its portfolio so far.
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, at the 2015 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, at the 2015 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.

John Chambers, the ex-CEO of Cisco who spent 20 years running the networking giant before stepping down in 2015, is turning his attention to venture capital.

The self-funded firm, JC2 Ventures, will back at least a dozen companies that have the potential to go public, according to multiple media reports. Chambers will focus on areas like the Internet of Things, digital communications, security and agriculture.

The firm has 8 companies in its portfolio so far, including drone software developer Airware and social media management company Sprinklr.

As CEO and chairman of Cisco, Chambers guided the company through the dot-com bubble and bust as well as the recession. He left the chairman role in December.

Chambers has been outspoken about the issues facing Silicon Valley, including how the lack of IPOs could dampen job growth. He said late last year that he wanted to "change the world" with start-up investing and that he wanted to see at least one female interviewed for each opening in a start-up.

Chambers told CNBC that he thought tax reform and reduced regulation from the Republican party would help start-ups. Changes to the tax code, he said, would allow companies to bring cash back to the U .S. at a tax rate, giving them a bigger incentive to make acquisitions.