Co-Founder & General Partner, Bull City Venture Partners
- David is a 12-year veteran in the venture capital industry. He is a former soccer player at Navy who soon thereafter became a Naval aviator and team leader. He later earned his master's in management information systems from University of Virginia and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Despite his professional accomplishments and academic smarts, David is a humble, giving person. He’s also a straight shooter.
- Bull City Venture Partners, the VC firm David and his partner, Jason Caplain, founded in 2013, has invested in great startups throughout the region. Additionally they manage two funds and are partners at Southern Capitol Ventures, where they invested companies such as ReverbNation (a solution that helps musicians advance their careers), Channel Advisor (an e-commerce platform that IPOed on NASDAQ), Motricity (an online advertising platform that IPOed on NASDAQ), and Art.com (a platform that helps artists sell their work online). Bull City’s slogan is “Founders First”—upon which they have built a stellar reputation within the red-hot start-up scene in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill).
What factors make a deal attractive to you?
- David: We look at management, market, and momentum. The quality of the founders and team probably accounts for 70% of our decision. The market also needs to be big, ideally $500M or greater. Email marketing was a good example. Everybody has email marketing. It's applicable to everybody. It's a huge market.
- The last thing for us is kind of nebulous; we call it momentum. Momentum has to do with how much measurable progress you’re making. Momentum can be measured with number of users, it can be eyeballs, it can be clicks, it can be revenue, it can be growth in the sector. For example, e-commerce continues to grow at a double-digit rate, whereas retail stores continue to fall.
What are some common mistakes founders make when fundraising?
- They raise too much money too early. A lot of founders believe their idea is the best idea in the world, when in reality, they should prove it out first–get to the point of being able to repeat success, and then step on the gas. Innovation happens with constraint. If you constrain the amount of capital you have, you’ll be forced to make better decisions, and then there will be a time to grow it. A lot of entrepreneurs will give away too much equity too early to a big name or what they think will be a big advisor. Conserve your equity. Your equity is your gold. The idea is that equity's going to be worth a heck of a lot more than anything else. Some entrepreneurs don’t pick the right investor. Do as much due diligence on an investor as they're doing on you. That's really, really important because it's truly a marriage but harder to get out of.
1993 - 2002
2002 - 2003
2003 - 2005
Southern Capitol Ventures
2004 - Present
Co-Founder & General Partner
Bull City Venture Partners
2013 - Present
2011 - Present
- MBA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- MS in Management Information Systems (MIS), University of Virginia
- BS in Electrical Engineering (BSEE), United States Naval Academy
Personal InvestmentsPartner Investments
AdWerx, Art.com, ArtusLabs (acq. Perkin-Elmer), Attila Security (acq. ID Technologies), AVIcode (acq. Microsoft), Batanga, Blueprint Title, BrightContext Corporation (acq. WealthEngine, Inc.), ChannelAdvisor, Contactually (acq. Compass), DoublePositive Marketing (acq. Output Services Group), eTix, Even, Full Measure Education, LaunchNotes, Levitate, Medfusion Inc. (acq. NextGen Healthcare), Motricity, Reveal Mobile, ReverbNation, Service Trade, Spiffy, Spoonflower (acq. Shutterfly), Synthematix (acq. Symyx Technologies), Tiny Earth Toys, WeddingWire
Material about David
- The Download: David Jones, General Partner, Bull City Venture Partners – GrepBeat
- ADVICE FROM THE PROS: Protect Yourself And Your Startup
- Triangle VCs By The Numbers: Who Do They Invest In, and Why?
- Durham e-commerce startup Spoonflower bought by Shutterfly for $225 million
- VCs Look Ahead to Q4 2020 - Hypepotamus
- Bull City Venture Partners Technology Executives Roundtable
- Wilmington native launches $26M venture capital fund | WilmingtonBiz