US needs to do more to support start-ups, says ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers

Key Points
  • The U.S. government needs to work harder to support more start-ups and foster technological innovation, according to venture capitalist and former Cisco CEO John Chambers.
  • The current environment makes it very difficult to create a start-up and take it public, Chambers says.
  • Chambers suggests revamping the education system to teach children more about technology, which France is already doing.
John Chambers: There are not enough American unicorns
John Chambers: There are not enough American unicorns

The U.S. government needs to do more to support start-ups to secure its future as a technological innovator, former Cisco CEO John Chambers said Thursday.

"We're the only country in the world that not only does not have a digitization program, but we don't have a start-up program," Chambers said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Despite a president who supports business growth, the government has actually created a hostile environment for start-ups, said Chambers, who is now a venture capitalist.

"The key thing from the government — make it simple to start a start-up and easy to go public. It's unbelievably difficult in this country," he added.

He also pushed for widespread changes in a broken education system.

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

A few major tech companies like Spotify and Dropbox have gone public this year, but Chambers said that isn't enough.

Chambers' venture capital firm, JC2 Ventures, currently has a portfolio of nine start-ups listed on its website. He said he plans to invest in more.