David Jones is a Co-Founder and General Partner of Bull City Venture Partners and a Partner at Southern Capitol Ventures. He serves on the boards of Reveal Mobile, Biospatial, and Attila Security and as a board observer at Spoonflower and Adwerx. Prior to joining Southern Capitol Ventures, he managed strategic technology projects for the newly formed Department of Homeland Security at Deloitte Consulting. He is well-known for his involvement in the Triangle entrepreneurial community.
David’s background in technology stems from the military where he served as a Naval aviator flying over 1,900 hours in the P-3C Orion. During his last tour he served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia teaching Engineering and Leadership courses. David served as the Weapons and Operations Officer during two deployments to the Mediterranean theater and North Atlantic and led a Naval Intelligence special projects crew testing cutting-edge technologies for acoustic and non-acoustic sensors and combat mission hardware and software
- What is in your pockets?
My phone is in my back pocket. I’m a back-pocket iPhone guy. I keep a pocket knife in my front pocket. I have a Costanza wallet and obviously nowadays a mask. I’m one of those guys who does a full-body check when he steps to the door to walk out of the house, to make sure I’ve got everything. I’ve got to be super-prepared and if I have jackets on, I’ll stuff them with other things as well.
- What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
For me personally, last week I turned 50 and so AARP is spamming me a lot more now. But then with Bull City Venture Partners, I’d say the great thing in the last year is we’ve hired a new associate, Sarah Leners, and she’s been fantastic. She’s been with us for almost a year, moved here from Chicago. She’s a great addition to our team and we have to continue to grow the team. We’re finishing our fund-raise for Fund IV right now.
We continue to focus on everything that we do. Seed and early-stage, software, and internet companies. Regionally, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, where over time, 50 percent-ish percent of our capital has gone into North Carolina companies. We don’t want to miss anything in North Carolina.
I’m not sure there has been a better time to be an investor or an entrepreneur in the Southeast and in North Carolina. Just look at the number of people moving here every day for quality of life, the new unicorns (billion-dollar companies), the private equity groups coming in and backing the Dude Solutions, the MercuryGates. I really believe the next 10 years are going to be great, and we’re off to a great start.
- What is your favorite coffee spot?
I have a ton, as you can imagine. I meet entrepreneurs in coffee shops all the time. I am not a coffee drinker. I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my entire life, but I am a diehard ice tea drinker. So, I’d probably go to more blue-collar places like Bruegger’s. Bruegger’s on Wade Avenue (in Raleigh), Bruegger’s in Chapel Hill—my go-to places for ice tea.
- What keeps you up at night?
I’m a pretty good sleeper. I am an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type of person. So, I don’t have trouble sleeping. But I’d say what keeps me up at night is that fear of missing out on the next great deal. I can name a list of companies that we’ve not gotten into, and we’re constantly meeting companies.
You have probably heard this story. I think it was November of 2012, and Jason [fellow BCVP Co-Founder Jason Caplain] and I were in New York having lunch with John Foley. He told us about a company that he was doing that was going to be an exercise bike with an iPad on it—Peloton. He said, “Hey, do you guys want in?” And, we’re like, “Holy cow. An exercise bike with an iPad on it? No thanks, John.” We missed a big one and unfortunately we have lots of stories like that. The decision when we’re passionate about something or have a lot of conviction around a company, trying to make that decision can be make-or-break for our funds. So, I definitely lose a bit of sleep over those kinds of things.
- What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
I live in Chapel Hill, so it’s probably Acme in Chapel Hill. I’m not much of a fancy-food-type of person. It’s more barbecue, baked beans, that kind of thing—upscale. All that real healthy stuff.
- What is next for you or your organization?
For us, it’s a lot of the same. It’s continuing to do what we do, staying focused on supporting entrepreneurs. If you think about our limited partners who invest and provide us the capital to invest in companies, we need to keep putting up great performance numbers for them.
We have the entrepreneurs we want to over-support, be helpful, and work with them to help grow a big company. Hopefully, they’ll work with us over and over again, like Scot Wingo, right? We got to work with him one time and then we got to work with him again. I do think 2021, this year, should be a good year. We’ve got a few of our portfolio companies posed for some good things, so be on the lookout for some great news over the next quarter or so from some of our companies.