Banking & Finance

Wilmington Native Launches $26M Venture Capital Fund

By Jenny Callison, posted Jun 19, 2014
A Wilmington native who has been involved in a series of venture capital funds has announced a new $26 million fund that will make investments in early and growth stage technology companies.
David Jones, who grew up in Wilmington and graduated from Cape Fear Academy, has publicly launched Bull City Venture Partners Fund III with fellow fund manager Jason Caplain. The two operate out of an office in Durham, and previously worked with Southern Capitol Ventures.

Jones will speak at a program on investing Sept. 4, 2014 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“We closed the fund on June 2, 2014 at $26M, so the fund is closed up to new investors,” Jones said in an email. “Our investors include Cisco, Red Hat, Industry Ventures, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, NC Innovation Fund, and many large family offices throughout the region.”
One of the investors is GCM Grosvenor, which describes itself as “one of world’s largest and most diversified independent alternative asset management firms.” Tracy Harris, a Durham-based member of Grosvenor’s Private Markets Investments department, will moderate Thursday’s “Stages of Investor Capital” seminar at the CIE.

Jones said that BCVP will look primarily at companies that are primarily based in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S. regions.
 “Given North Carolina is our backyard, we better not miss any big successes here,” he added.
“Software, ecommerce, digital media, mobile, health care IT, and internet markets are our focus.  This is the same focus we had with our previous two funds with Southern Capitol Ventures,” Jones said.  

"We will invest at the seed stage (just an idea) and have done this three times out of 11 in our previous fund," he said. "Early stage we define as a company with a product and with a few customers and looking to scale the business. Growth stage is a company with a strong product and customers, and an investment goes to add rocket fuel to the fire to speed up the growth of the business. Across all stages, we are targeting the very best entrepreneurs."
Asked how the partners will evaluate companies that request investments, Jones said, “Our investment decisions are driven roughly 80 percent by the team/entrepreneurs and the remaining 20 percent is the market opportunity and momentum in the business.  A big question I like to ask entrepreneurs is ‘what advantage do you and your team have to be able to execute on this idea?’  Experienced successful entrepreneurs are a big target for us.”  

Jones and Caplain were the full-time partners at Southern Capitol Ventures, where they remain active in running two funds, Jones said.
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