Hunting for good investment deals comes almost naturally to venture capitalist David Jones, considering that he once hunted for nuclear and diesel submarines as a P-3C Orion aircraft pilot in the U.S. Navy.
Jones, one of the region’s emerging faces in deal-making as part of venture firm , is taking a high-profile hunter role now. He’s just been promoted to partner at the early stage firm that’s based in Raleigh.
“As you build an organization, it is vital to build a culture that reflects your vision of the future,” says Ben Brooks, who founded the firm in 2000. “David Jones possesses the values and business acumen that we look for in a leader.
“In general, we judge people not by their words, but by their actions,” he added. “David has consistently demonstrated the ability to earn the trust and respect of entrepreneurs and investors alike.”
Jones had been a principal at the firm. He and Jason Caplain, a Southern Capitol partner, make frequent road trips across the Southeast in search of deals. They also help put on or participate in a variety of events designed to help entrepreneurs get beyond theory to business and to match company growers with company investors.
Brooks pointed out that Jones will assume more responsibility.
“David will take more of a leadership role in managing the day-to-day operations of the firm,” Brooks said. “Working closely with Jason Caplain, David will be responsible for sourcing deals, conducting due diligence and providing portfolio input at the board level.”
Jones is relishing his additional challenges.
“I have been fully committed to our firm’s success from Day 1,” said Jones, who has worked at Southern Capitol since 2005. “I think being named a partner reflects my level of involvement at SCV, and my focus will continue to be on expanding our reach and supporting great entrepreneurs.”
Southern Capitol focuses on early stage investments, and they have ranged from such firms as ChannelAdvisor to Art.com. Jones represents the firm as a board member at startup Artus Labs and also is part of the Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network.
Being on the road is crucial in finding investment opportunities, Jones pointed out. He likes the so-called “deal flow” that the trips help generate despite the slowing economy.
“We make regular trips throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, and we are getting asked that question frequently with the current economic turmoil in financial services,” Jones said about opportunities.
“Deal flow continues to be consistent both from seed-stage entrepreneurs leaving larger companies to start something new as well with mid-stage companies needing to potentially take more capital to weather the lack of exit opportunities available today.
“I can make an argument that it’s a great time to start a new company with the mass layoffs on Wall Street,” he added, “and if you believe the economy will be much stronger five to seven years from now, when a company might be looking to exit. I think venture capital will be an asset class least affected by what’s taking place on Wall Street right now.”
Jones was an information technology consultant at Deloitte Consulting before joining Southern Capitol. He also is an entrepreneur, having started a medical device Web portal (Orthocopia.com). He is a Naval Academy graduate with a degree in electrical engineering and added a master’s in management information systems at the University of Virginia. Jones also earned an MBA at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Southern Capitol closed its second fund totaling $15 million in December 2006.