It’s the trillion-dollar question: Will the U.S. economy bounce back quickly from the coronavirus crisis?

According to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, probably not.

“I think unfortunately this next 12-18 months will be very tough, that’s why I think a government program helping the startups financially is very, very key,” Chambers said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

“But just as we saw in 2008 and the dot com bubble in 2001, we will navigate through it. This is where some surprising companies will break away and some companies will disappoint.”

Chambers served as Cisco CEO for 24 years before stepping down in 2015. During his tenure, he navigated the tech giant through the depths of the dot com bubble and Great Recession. Cisco operates one of its largest campuses right here in RTP.

Today, he heads JC2 Ventures — a VC firm he founded that now has stakes in 18 startups.

Chambers told Yahoo on a Zoom call a week ago that he is advising leaders of his portfolio companies to expect large drops in sales and to think more prudently about growth.

Ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers warns NC of ‘brutal’ digital transformation coming in age of IoT